Oxi Day, which is also known as Ohi or Ochi Day, is an important day in Greek history and culture. It’s a unique time to experience in the Greek capital, with much excitement and celebration and to share. So what’s there to do on Oxi Day in Athens? Let’s find out!
What is Oxi Day?
Oxi Day marks a momentous moment in Greek history. Each year on October 28th, Greece and Cyprus remember this special day as an example of Greek strength and bravery and is a grand, patriotic celebration. On this day in 1940, the Greek prime minister, Ioannis Metaxas, told Alberto Mussolini that Axis Forces were not welcome in Greece. Mussolini gave the prime minister an ultimatum, stating that forces were going to enter and occupy several stations in Greece, to which Metaxas replied, “Oxi!”. In Greek this means no, so Metxas told Axis forces that they would rather go to war than be occupied.
As a consequence, Axis forces then invaded Greece, inserting the country into WWII. However, Oxi Day is still thought of as a moment of great bravery and pride. For this reason, Oxi Day in Athens, and throughout all of Greece, is a day to celebrate patriotism and heritage.
Many cities and villages across Greece mark Oxi Day with a grand parade, and Athens is no exception. It’s a full military parade, and on Oxi Day in Athens you can see the guards in their traditional uniform as they march down the streets. However, more than just the military get in on the fun.
Marching bands bring the streets to life with vibrant marches and infect the crowd with their patriotic spirit. Municipal clubs, organizations, and schools all take part in the parades, too. For this, you will notice that they are quite large. Many festival-goers wear traditional Greek dress and wave flags as they march down the streets to the music. Seeing the Oxi Day parade in Athens is an opportunity that only comes once a year, so you don’t want to miss it! It kicks off around 10AM and goes through Leoforos Vassilissis Amalias Avenue and Panepistimiou Street.
Other things to do
Additionally, Oxi Day in Athens offers many more activities for both locals and tourists alike. To celebrate Greek heritage and culture, the following places offer free admission for the day:
- Acropolis: free admission from 8:00-15:00
- Acropolis Museum
- National Archaeological Museum
- Byzantine and Christian Museum
While many of the shops and stores will be closed for Oxi Day in Athens, restaurants, cafes, and bars will remain open. This means that you can enjoy a drink or delicious meal during this day of celebration, but things might be a bit crowded as it is a public holiday. Many locals will have the day off of work to celebrate and enjoy the day’s festivities.
Throughout the day, you’ll find dancing, music, and street shows throughout the center of Athens. At night, the skies fill with colorful fireworks to end a wonderful day of Greek culture and heritage.
See more: A Checklist of the Best 10 Things to Buy in Athens When You Visit, How to Pack for the Weather in Athens All Year Round, A Quick and Easy Guide to Enjoying Athens in the Summer, A Quick List of the 8 Best Free Things to Do in Athens, 6 of the Top Museums in Athens that Should Be on Your List
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