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.
Yesterday was October 17th, the day that Naousa was finally liberated from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. Naousa did indeed join The Revolution of 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, however, tied up Turkish resources big time and helped patriots win independence for the south of Greece. (For those reasons, Naousa was renamed "The Heroic City of Naousa" by royal decree in 1955.)
The Greeks of Naousa, Edessa, Veria, and Alexandria did their part in the ensuing years to undermine Ottoman rule, and the north was finally liberated in 1912-13. Makedonomachi (Macedonian Freedom Fighters) like Theodosios Zafeirakis and Dimitrios "Tsami" Karatasos 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment