This Sunday (October 28th) we celebrate OXI Day!
OXI, (oh-hee) means NO! It is a national Greek holiday that is celebrated every year throughout Greece, Cyprus and the Greek communities around the world, to commemorate the rejection by Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1940. The ultimatum demanded that Greece allow enemy forces to enter Greek territory and occupy certain "strategic locations" or otherwise face war. It was answered with a single word: OXI!!! (NO!)
This marked the date in 1940 when Greece entered WWII. After the World War II it became a national holiday in Greece and Cyprus.
The novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin (which became a movie in 2001 wth Nicolas Cage, Penélope Cruz and John Hurt) features a fictionalized account of the meeting between Metaxas and Grazzi, written from Grazzi's point of view.
The anniversary of 28th October 1940 is for all Greeks, one of the most important and glorious moments of our modern history. It is commemorated every year in every city, town or village with an official service held at the church, the laying of wreaths at statues/monuments dedicated to the WW2 war heroes and with student parades. On this anniversary, most public buildings and residences are decorated with Greek flags.
In Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, celebrations of Oxi Day culminate in a large, lavish military parade down the main boulevard, during which military airplanes fly over the city in proud formations.
All photos are courtesy of Google images.