There are lots of holidays celebrated in Greece. For example, every Sunday of the year is a public holiday. There are also six official public holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- March 25th
- Easter Sunday
- Easter Monday
- August 15th, and
These are the obligatory holidays. May 1 and Oct. 28 are other ones regulated by law as optional. Usually, employees don’t work on these dates as well.
In Greece, public holidays are celebrated as well. So, in total, there are around 14 national holidays each year.
However, some of Greece public holidays are not celebrated across the country. Only a certain local or professional group celebrates those other public holidays. An example of this is “Name Day” or “Liberation Day”. Schools take a day off on these dates.
Mostly, Greek holidays are based on key religious dates in the Orthodox faith. These are the holidays of national importance.
List of Greek Holidays
You can find the list of the public and national holidays in Greece below. Note that if the public holiday is on Sunday of the year, it’s not transferred to another date.
|Date||Name of Holiday||Details|
|Jan. 1||New Year’s Day|
|March 15||Clean Monday (Kathari Deftera)||The date varies each year. Celebration of the first day of Lent for Orthodox Christians.|
|March 25||Greek Independence Day|
|April 30||Orthodox Good Friday||The date varies each year|
|May 1||Protomagia||International Workers’ Day|
|May 2||Orthodox Easter Day|
|May 3||Orthodox Easter Monday||The date varies|
|June 20||Orthodox Pentecost|
|June 21||Holy Spirit Monday|
|Aug. 15||Dormition of the Virgin Mary||The Falling Asleep of the Virgin|
|Oct. 28||National Anniversary Day||The Ochi Day: Commemoration of the country’s refusal to succumb to the Italian troops during World War II, in 1940.|
|Dec. 25||Christmas Day|
|Dec. 26||Synaxis of the Mother of God|
Some Notes on Greece Public Holidays
You can find details below about some of the referred national holidays in Greece. You can also find how Greek holidays and traditions are engaged together.
January 1st: Protohronia, New Year’s Day
On this day, religious services, meals, and desserts take place. One of the traditions is the cooking of the cake called vasilopita. They hide a coin in this cake. Whoever gets the piece with the coin is considered the lucky ones.
March 25th: Independence Day
One of Greece’s public holidays is Independence Day. School and military parades take place throughout the country this day.
Greeks eat a special meal consisting of fried bakaliaros (codfish) and skordalia (garlic spread) on this day.
Greek Easter Holy Week
Easter is a favorable period in Greece. You can see flowers blooming and trees blossoming in this spring season.
If you visit churches and monasteries during this time, you’ll find gorgeous views and sounds around. You can also light up a candle and make a wish.
Note that Greek Easter dates vary each year as defined by the Greek Orthodox calendar.
August 15th: Dormition of the Virgin
Another important date for the Greek Orthodox Church and for Greeks is August 15th. Greeks celebrate the Dormition of the Virgin on this date. It’s also called the Assumption of Mary. Greeks enjoy this day rather than grieving. They celebrate Virgin Mary’s qualities because they believe the “Holiest of All” (Panayia) only ascended to Heaven and is not dead.
October 28th: Ohi (No) Day
Military and school parades take place on this date. This is the date when Greeks said “No” to the Italians who asked for their surrender during World War II.
December 25th: Christmas Day
On this date, children sing Christmas carols while visiting houses. Religious services take place on this date. People also spend time with their families. Butter cookies are cooked on this day as well.