2024 Public Holidays in Greece

Public Holidays in Greece in 2024

Greece, a country steeped in history, culture, and tradition, celebrates numerous public holidays throughout the year. These holidays reflect the nation’s rich religious heritage, as well as its significant historical events and cultural customs. In 2024, Greece will observe a variety of public holidays, each with its own unique significance and observances.

National Holidays

New Year’s Day (Πρωτοχρονιά) – January 1st

New Year’s Day in Greece, as in many countries, marks the beginning of the Gregorian calendar year. It is celebrated with family gatherings, parties, and special meals. Many Greeks also attend church services or participate in traditional customs, such as cutting the Vasilopita (New Year’s cake) to bring luck for the coming year.

Epiphany (Θεοφάνεια) – January 6th

Epiphany, also known as Theophania, commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River. It is celebrated with religious ceremonies, including the Blessing of the Waters, where priests throw a cross into the sea or river, and young men dive in to retrieve it. Epiphany is a public holiday in Greece, and many people attend church services and participate in the blessings.

Clean Monday (Καθαρά Δευτέρα) – Date varies (Orthodox calendar)

Clean Monday, also known as Kathara Deftera, marks the beginning of Lent in the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is a day of fasting and abstaining from meat and dairy products. Greeks celebrate Clean Monday with outdoor picnics, kite flying, and traditional foods such as lagana (unleavened bread) and seafood.

Independence Day (Εικοστή Πέμπτη Μαρτίου) – March 25th

Independence Day in Greece commemorates the start of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. It is a national holiday celebrated with parades, school events, and military ceremonies. The day holds great patriotic significance for Greeks, symbolizing their struggle for freedom and national identity.

Good Friday (Μεγάλη Παρασκευή) – Date varies (Orthodox calendar)

Good Friday is observed by Orthodox Christians worldwide as the day of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and death. In Greece, it is a solemn and somber day marked by church services, processions, and the reading of the Twelve Gospels. Many Greeks also participate in the Epitaphios procession, where the decorated epitaphios (tomb of Christ) is carried through the streets.

Easter Monday (Δευτέρα του Πάσχα) – Date varies (Orthodox calendar)

Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is observed as a public holiday in Greece. It is a time for family gatherings, feasting, and outdoor activities. Many Greeks roast lamb on a spit and enjoy traditional Easter foods such as tsoureki (sweet bread) and red eggs. Easter Monday is also associated with the cracking of red eggs, a symbol of Christ’s resurrection.

Labour Day (Εργατική Πρωτομαγιά) – May 1st

Labour Day in Greece is dedicated to workers’ rights and social justice. It is celebrated with rallies, marches, and demonstrations organized by trade unions and political parties. Many people also take the opportunity to relax and enjoy leisure activities with family and friends.

Assumption of Mary (Κοίμηση της Θεοτόκου) – August 15th

The Assumption of Mary is a Christian feast day that honors the Virgin Mary’s assumption into heaven. In Greece, it is a public holiday that is celebrated with church services, processions, and other religious observances. Many people also take the opportunity to enjoy a day off and spend time with family and friends.

Ochi Day (Επέτειος του Όχι) – October 28th

Ochi Day, also known as “No” Day, commemorates Greece’s refusal to surrender to the Axis powers during World War II. It is celebrated with parades, military displays, and wreath-laying ceremonies at war memorials. Ochi Day is a national holiday in Greece, and it holds great significance as a symbol of Greek resistance and patriotism.

Christmas Day (Χριστούγεννα) – December 25th

Christmas Day celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and is one of the most important Christian holidays worldwide. In Greece, it is a time for religious observance, family gatherings, and festive celebrations. People decorate their homes with Christmas trees, lights, and ornaments, and exchange gifts with loved ones.

Second Christmas Day (Σύναξις της Θεοτόκου) – December 26th

Second Christmas Day, also known as Synaxis of the Theotokos, is observed in several Orthodox Christian countries, including Greece. It is a public holiday that provides an additional day for relaxation and spending time with family and friends after the busy festivities of Christmas Day.

Table of Public Holidays and Days Off

Holiday Date Days Off Groups
New Year’s Day January 1 1 All
Epiphany January 6 1 All (especially Orthodox Christians)
Clean Monday Variable 1 All (especially Orthodox Christians)
Independence Day March 25 1 All
Good Friday Variable 1 Orthodox Christians
Easter Monday Variable 1 All (especially Orthodox Christians)
Labour Day May 1 1 All
Assumption of Mary August 15 1 All (especially Orthodox Christians)
Ochi Day October 28 1 All
Christmas Day December 25 1 All (especially Christians)
Second Christmas Day December 26 1 All (especially Orthodox Christians)

 

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