Public Holidays

Public holidays in Greece

All major Christian holidays are also on the calendar for Greeks. Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, however, are not public holidays.

Deviating is the calculation of the date of Easter and all holidays dependent on it (the Holy Week, Whitsun, Ascension Day and Lent). In Greece, the Orthodox Church is the authoritative church and its Julian calendar is a little more accurate than the Gregorian calendar.

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Non-floating holidays

Non-statutory holidays are written in gray.

Jan. 1stNew Year's Day
Jan. 6thEpiphany
Jan. 30thThree Holy Hierarchs
March 25thIndependence Day
May 1stLabor Day
Aug. 15thAssumption Day
Aug. 25thProcession in Heraklion (Crete only)
Oct. 28thOchi Day (anniversary of the no)
Dec. 24thChristmas Eve
Dec. 25thChristmas Day
Dec. 26thBoxing Day
Dec. 31stNew Year's Eve

Moving Holidays in Greece

Carnival Monday / Beginning of LentFeb. 27thMarch 18thMarch 3rdFeb. 23rdMarch 15th
Ash WednesdayMarch 1stMarch 20thMarch 5thFeb. 25thMarch 17th
Good FridayApril 14thMay 3rdApril 18thApril 10thApril 30th
Easter Sunday (orthodox)April 16thMay 5thApril 20thApril 12thMay 2nd
Easter Monday (orthodox)April 17thMay 6thApril 21stApril 13thMay 3rd
Mother's DayMay 14thMay 12thMay 11thMay 10thMay 9th
Ascension of ChristMay 25thJune 13thMay 29thMay 21stJune 10th
Whit SundayJune 4thJune 23rdJune 8thMay 31stJune 20th
Whit MondayJune 5thJune 24thJune 9thJune 1stJune 21st
Father's DayJune 18thJune 16thJune 15thJune 21stJune 20th

Greece and the Julian calendar

Public Holidays The predominant religion of the Greeks by far, also named in the constitution, is orthodox Christianity. Thus, as in all other Christian countries, most religious festivals are celebrated on a date dependent on Easter. Easter itself takes place on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring.

According to the Gregorian calendar, however, spring only occurs on March 21 because in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII corrected a calculation error in the calendar of that time and introduced the Gregorian calendar. In Greece, the Julian calendar was retained, which always placed the beginning of spring on a different day. It was not until 1923 that Greece also adopted the Gregorian calendar, but continues to calculate Christian holidays according to the Julian calendar.

Even after 2,000 years, the difference between the two calendars is only about 13 days. However, since a full moon appears only every 28 days, the entire Orthodox Easter is up to five weeks later, depending on the year.

Cult of the Sun at Christmas

Helios was the sun god in ancient Greece. In his honor, the sun festival (Sol holiday) was celebrated on the winter solstice on December 25. The fact that the birth of Jesus was celebrated on the same day some 600 years later was pure coincidence. Over time, however, the two holidays merged and with the Christianization of the country, December 25 became Christmas Day. The entire period from December 25 to January 6 is considered a festive season in Greece — even though only a few of these days are also public holidays.

The Ochi Day

Along with Independence Day, Ochi Day is the most important national holiday and is celebrated on October 28. It commemorates the resistance against Mussolini, who first provoked the Greeks with a military action in 1939 and then called for support in World War II in 1940. President Metaxas, who remained neutral, refused and in turn declared war on Italy. "Ochi" is the Greek word for "no." A battle ensued only a few hours later, which the Greeks won. It was not until 1941 that German troops occupied parts of the country.

Today, military parades and processions are held on this anniversary and Greece is engulfed in a sea of blue and white national flags.
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