In Greece, October 28 is a national holiday known as Ohi Day. On this day in 1940, the Greek Prime Minister Metaxas refused to surrender to the invading Italian forces, saying ‘Oxi’, or ‘No’.
Ohi / Oxi Day Greece
In Greece, October 28th is a national holiday known as Ohi Day. Ohi Day commemorates the day in 1940 when Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas said “Ohi” (No) to Mussolini’s ultimatum to surrender during World War II.
The word “Ohi” has come to symbolize Greek resistance against all odds, and the holiday is celebrated with parades, military reenactments, and other patriotic displays.
Why Is Ohi Day Important?
Ohi Day is important because it reminds Greeks of their history and their culture. It is a day to remember the sacrifices that were made during World War II, and to celebrate the fact that Greece is a free and independent nation. Ohi Day also serves as a reminder that Greeks are a strong and resilient people who have overcome many challenges throughout their history.
What happened in Greece on October 28th, 1940?
On October 28th, 1940, Mussolini’s Italy presented an ultimatum to Greece. The ultimatum demanded that Greece allow Italian troops to enter the country and occupy certain strategic locations. The Greek government refused to accept the terms of the ultimatum, and thus Greece was officially dragged into conflict in the Second World War.
Greek troops put up a fierce resistance to the Italian Army. Recognizing their bravery against forces greater than their own, Winston Churchill famously said: “Until now we used to say that the Greeks fight like heroes. Now we shall say: Heroes fight like Greeks.”
The Greek resistance ultimately forced the Italian forces to retreat, and they were driven back to the Greek Albanian border. This action forced Nazi Germany to send their own troops to occupy Greece, which they did in April 1941. Thanks to the Greek resistance during the Greco Italian War, troop Axis troops were diverted from other arenas, perhaps changing the future course of the war a few years later.
What does the word “Ohi” mean?
The word “Ohi” (pronounced OH-hee) means “No.” You might also see the word written as Oxi. Ohi Day and Oxi day are the same thing!
How Is Ohi Day Celebrated?
On the 28th of October, you will see that most public buildings and many homes have Greek flags hanging outside them. In the week before Oxi day, you will see flags being sold by the roadside, so if you ever wanted to buy a Greek flag, this is your chance!
Ohi Day is celebrated with parades, festivities, and other patriotic displays. All schools and businesses are closed on Ochi Day (apart from cafes and places to get food) so that Greek people can participate in the festivities. If you are traveling in Greece on this day, you should know that Greek ferries will be running as normal. You can plan your Greek ferry travel itinerary at Ferryscanner.
Many towns and cities also hold special events to mark the Ohi Day, and in bigger cities such as Thessaloniki, there will be a large military parade, but also different neighborhoods might have their own parades.
In Athens, the main celebration takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A wreath-laying ceremony is held at the tomb, and military and student parades take place on the main road near Syntagma Square.
Related: 2 days in Athens Itinerary
Oxi Day FAQ
Some of the most frequently asked questions about Oxi Day include:
What does Ohi Day celebrate?
Ohi Day celebrates the day in 1940 when Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas said ‘Oxi’ (No) to Italian Dictator Mussolini’s ultimatum to surrender during World War II. It is celebrated by Greek communities all around the world.
How do Greeks celebrate Ohi Day?
Greeks celebrate Ohi Day on 28th October with parades and festivities, and it is a national holiday.
What does Ohi mean in Greek?
The word ‘Ohi’ means ‘No’ in Greek.
When was the Greco Italian War?
The Greco Italian War took place from October 28th, 1940 to April 23rd, 1941 after the Greeks refused the Italian ultimatum.
Do Greek ferries operate on Oxi Day?
Yes, Greek ferries sail on the 28th of October (Ohi Day). The only exception would be if bad weather with strong winds led to cancellations. YOu can check up to date ferry schedules at Ferryscanner.
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