Wednesday, 25 March 2015

An expression of independence

Today is Greek independence day, which probably has added significance bearing in mind this country's current difficulties.

It says somewhere at the top of this blog that no man is an island (thank you, John Donne) and by the same token no country is really independent.

We all, to varying degrees, depend on each other and who depends most on whom establishes the nature of the relationship between countries. Hence, the rather frosty feelings between Greece and Germany at the moment.

It would seem that Greece needs Germany to "play nicely" which is something that German politicians don't seem entirely willing to do at the moment. What Germans might well see as being fiscally rigorous, Greeks could see as intransigence. Time will tell.

In the meantime, today will see a parade along the Paralia in Skopelos to celebrate Greece gaining independence from the Ottoman empire in the 19th century. To say that Greece has had a tumultuous history since then would be an understatement and in many senses the fight for independence continues.

Part of the Independence Day parade in Skopelos
a few years ago.

Today is also the celebration of the Annunciation in which the angel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and give birth to the Son of God. Those with a literal frame of mind will be pleased to note that this is exactly nine months to the day on which we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

While checking a few facts and figures for this posting I came across the claim, which I see no reason to dispute, that according to Greek law every Sunday is a public holiday. In addition there are four obligatory public holidays, one of them being today, and a number of optional holidays. I make no comment on this, no really, I don't.

Other events that have taken place on March 25 over the years include the foundation of Venice in 421 and the passing of the Slave Trade Act in 1807 which abolished slavery in the British Empire. But you knew all that already, didn't you?

I finish with some Greek music and dancing from a slightly odd Greek TV show in which the set is made to resemble a taverna and then every now and again someone gets up to do a bit of singing and dancing. Why they couldn't film in a real taverna to show you what happens when Greek people let their hair down, I don't know, but it will give you some idea.

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