Thursday, March 25, 2010

You wore what?

Today is a major Greek national celebration, a day commemorating the start of the war for independence back in 1821, following 400 years of Ottoman occupation. It is traditionally celebrated with student and army parades throughout the country. The biggest military parade takes place in the centre of Athens and usually involves tanks and other army vehicles. This year the parade was rather less elaborate, as befits a country in serious financial trouble, and lasted just 45 short minutes.

Even so, thousands of people turned up bright and early to watch the good men and women of the armed forces marching through town. As a result, those of us who enjoy a lie-in (ahem) had to put up with other people's heads in our line of sight as well as (sigh!) in our photos. Still, I thought you might like to see some of my pics, so here is a small selection:


This is the Presidential Guard, dressed in national costume which includes a pleated mini skirt, an embroidered waistcoat, red fez, tights and shoes with pom poms.


These guys carried their guns AND their ski gear. James Bond, eat your heart out!


The Underwater Demolition Team came ready for a dive in the deep sea - some of them even brought their flippers.

As it was 23°C (73°F) by midday, I wasn't sure who to feel sorrier for, the skiers or the divers! I had long trousers and a T-shirt on, spent most of the time in partial shade and still wished I'd sacrificed fashion for comfort and put shorts on. But I'm not complaining. It's nice to have a bit of summer in the middle of spring, and I know from experience that marching in the sunshine is much more pleasant than marching in the pouring rain.

12 comments:

Karen said...

I was listening to a story about Greece's financial woes just this morning. I'd love to know your thoughts.

I would also love to hear about the OTHER Greek holiday. The one without skis or flippers.

Tinsie said...

I don't really have any insights to share... there's little coverage of the Greek financial crisis in the British press (probably because things in the UK aren't exactly peachy either) and even less evidence that anything is wrong in day-to-day life in Greece, apart from everyone moaning about not having any money! To be honest, you probably know as much about it as I do.

The 25th March is equivalent to your 4th July and is celebrated in similar fashion (minus the fireworks and baseball games). The religious holiday is the Annunciation, one of the 12 Great Feasts in Eastern Orthodox tradition. There are special church services before the national day parades, and school celebrations focus equally on the religious and secular aspects of the holiday, however for most Greeks (who aren't students, teachers or priests) I think 25th March is more about the national day celebrations than anything else.

Cherry said...

Nice snaps Tinsie and thanks for giving an idea on this Greek holiday. Yes the financial crisis has had its impact on all celeberations

Tinsie said...

I've had enough of the financial crisis. I want it to finish NOW! Bah.

Loops said...

Lovely photos. I'm not even thinking of the weather - it's raining here right now and we have snow forecast for later in the week.

Tinsie said...

Thanks, Loops!

Snow?!!! OMG. I'm thinking of going for my first swim in the sea this week. Are we on the same continent?

Loops said...

Sadly we're not in the same city. The snow is forecast for "The North", as usual London will probably be cold and wet and miserable.

You can tell it's Easter in the UK - the weather is terrible!

Shionge said...

Very nice...I love the Demolition Team keeekekek..

Puss-in-Boots said...

How colourful. I love seeing photos of other cultures and their celebrations. It's such a shame that the financial crisis has curtailed a lot of things. Enjoyment is one thing we need plenty of...preferably for free!

Gattina said...

Parades are not so my cup of tea but I like the colorful outfit of the President's guard.
I don't know much about the financial crises and Belgium too, they don't talk about it a lot.

JM said...

Great series! And 23ÂșC? Mmmmm... now I envy you! :-)

Tinsie said...

Glad you liked the photos, guys!

@ JM: The weather at the moment is fabulous! Sunny and warm, but not too hot during the day, and cool enough in the evening for a good night's sleep. Just perfect :-)