Friday, March 25, 2011

March 25, 1821

"..Better one hour of free life,Than forty years of slavery and prison." ~ Rigas Feraios, Greek writer and intellectual of the era who conceived the national movement to oust Turkish oppression
Combat of the Giaour and the Pasha, Eugene Delacroix 1827
March 25, 1821 marks the day that Greece began to shake the shackles of 400 years of slavery under Ottoman Turkish rule. The Muslim world tried to squelch the freedom of a people and spread Islam as far as it could. Sound familiar?

This day of the anniversary of the war for Greek Independence brings out the pride of our ancestors. They tried hard to hold on to who they were despite the Turkish rulers who expected them to switch from their religion to Islam, to forget the Greek language and history. The Greeks had to be Greek in secret, hiding in caves and secret places to teach their children after dark in the moonlight.

Φεγγαράκι μου λαμπρό,
φέγγε μου να περπατώ,
να πηγαίνω στο σκολειό,
να μαθαίνω γράμματα,
του Θεού τα πράματα.

My little bright moon,
shine on my way,
that I may go to school,
to learn to read and write,
and the teachings of God.

Today the Greek dance students I teach performed a few traditional dances at a commemorative luncheon sponsored by our church. I thought, how fortunate they are to be able to continue these traditions in the open, not needing to learn in secret, and how this freedom is easily taken for granted.

How cute and innocent they are! They did a good job performing their set of dances. What do they know about oppression, learning in secret, and the strife their great-grandparents had to be free? Nothing, and maybe that's the way it should be for now.


  1. No one should have to live in hiding. It's great they have better lives now.

  2. thanks for sharing a piece of history I did not know

  3. C..You don't know what freedom means until you lose it. Their struggle made life possible for their descendants.

  4. Debbie V I'm glad my post was informative! Thank you for commenting!


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