Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Naousa Independence Day (for real!)

Yesterday I shed a tear singing "Tin Ipermaho," for real -- not like when we sang it on March 25th during a church play in my hometown of Stockton, California. Then we had some stereotypical/idealized idea of Greek Independence Day circa 1821. I memorized quite a few patriotic poems in those days, and can still see my mother Angeliki proudly decked out in a traditional Greek costume.
But yesterday was October 17th, the day that Naousa was finally liberated from the Ottoman Empire. Naousa did join the revolution in 1821. But the local Turkish ruler responded by killing 10,000 Greeks and burning the town to the ground in 1822 -- think "scorched earth" in overdrive. About 1500 captives (women/children and priests) chose suicide rather than change religions and live with the Turks‎. That episode tied up Turkish resources and helped patriots win independence for the south of Greece. For those reasons, Naousa was renamed "Heroic Naousa" by royal decree in 1955.
In ensuing years‎, the Greeks in that area (i.e. Naousa, Edessa, Veria, Alexandria, etc.) did their part to undermine Turkish rule. Southern Greece won independence circa 1821 and the north finally caught up in in 1912-13. Makedonomachi (Macedonian Freedom Fighters) like Zafeirakys and Karatassos were among those remembered and honored yesterday with the somber laying of wreaths in the town park.

But be‎fore that came a special church service ("Doxologia") in Naousa's Mitropolis Church -- replete with numerous crown-wearing bishops and a gaggle of  local priests. Not to mention elected officials, representatives from all the schools, and members of the military. (No Separation of Church and State here, even though the current leftist government has caused a firestorm by proposing the removal of religious classes from school curricula. They think religion should be taught in churches and at home...)

Meanwhile, Greek flags were raised high, and led by candle-bearing bishops we sang "Tin Ipermaho" and the National Anthem -- for real.‎ 
My kind of holiday!

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.

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