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March 24, 2012


     On the 25th of March of every year we celebrate the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary  (or Evangelismos tes Theotokou in Greek). It is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church and one of many feasts celebrating the Virgin Mary. Also on the same day Greeks celebrate Greek Independence Day.  (There are two Independence days in the year one in October about WWII and this one of the revolution and freedom from the Ottoman Empire).

     According to the Gospel of Luke 1:26-38, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce to her that she would conceive and bear a son, the son of God even though she "knew no man." 

     This date was selected by the Church Fathers to be exactly nine months ahead of the Nativity of Our Lord (or vice-versa?), indicating that Christ was conceived in perfection at that time "of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary," as stated in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (Immaculate Conception).

     Many men and women in Greece are named for this event and celebrate their name day on this date.

  • Greek: Evangelia (f) and Evangelos (m)
  • English: Evangeline (f) and Evan and Angelo (m)
     The feast of the Annunciation normally falls during the season of Great Lent, but it is still a joyous day. This is one of only two days during Lent, the other being Palm Sunday, when fish is permitted. On this day, traditionally Greeks eat fried cod (bakaliaros) with a garlic dip/sauce (skorthalia).

    Apart from the religious part of the day I mentioned that it is
also Greek Independence Day and the state honours it with a
big military parade in the center of Athens and in every county
the schools (wearing different uniforms) parade as well in their
town center accompanied by the townhall's band.



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