Dave and Gerry's Alonissos Island Information Site
 

National (Independence) Day - 25th March 2009

Click on the links in the text to view pictures of the National Day celebration.

We drove down from the Old Town to Patitiri about 10.00am having no real idea when the ceremony was going to start.  When we arrived there was no-one around except the fish van parked outside Taverna Koutouki and doing a good trade in freshly caught fish.  The road in front of the taverna had been marked so that the children marching in rows of three had lines to walk towards!!!  The church service ended around 10.30am and everyone gathered around the war memorial in front of the Council (Dimos) Office and the ceremony was started with a short service by Father Avraam the island priest.

There were wreaths were laid by the Mayor, representatives from the Alonissos Police, Coast Guard and Fire Service and an ex-soldier and was laying on behalf of war veterans followed by children from the school in their years.  After the wreath laying ceremony had finished the children all sang the National Anthem.  You can see a picture of the war memorial with all the wreaths laid.

A ceremony then took place where school children who had earned special credit or merit during the school year were presented with their certificates.  Here you can see Steve and Chris Garth's son Ryan after collecting his certificate.  After the presentations had finished, the school children headed off to the top of the high street to form up into their year groups for the marching parade.  The crowds moved to stand along the road to Roussoum Yialos to watch the parade.

The marching music started and the first group along were the youngest children in traditional Greek dress.  After they had paraded through each of the school years followed with a front group including a flag bearer, followed shortly after by all the rest of the class marching along the road.  This continued until every group had marched passed the assembled crowd.  Each were enthusiastically clapped and all were obviously very proud to be part of the commemoration of Independence Day.

After the parade had finished we went over to the amphitheatre where we were treated to a display of traditional dancing by four dance groups of different ages.  All performed extremely well under the watchful eye of their dance teacher and there was a lovely moment when the youngest group left and all waved to the crowd as they exited the arena.  After the dancing had finished we went down to the harbour with friends to enjoy a drink and be proud of having been part of a very important part of Greek history on our very special island.

 

Fish Van Parked Outside Taverna Koutouki
 

Marching Lines Painted on the Road
 

Father Avraam Conducting the Service
 

Wreaths Layed at the War Memorial
 

Steve and Chris Garth's Son Ryan Collecting his Certificate
 

Youngest Children Marching in Traditional Greek Dress
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