“There are two types of people: Greeks, and everyone who wishes they were Greek.” On March 25th, Greeks around the world honorED their heritage by rejoicing in Greece’s independence after 400 years of Turkish Ottoman rule. The Hellenic spirit has continued to endure long after March 25, 1821 — 194 years of self-rule and self-determination. 194 years later, we continue to commemorate the principles of our heritage and the sacrifices of our parents, grandparents, and ancestors, who fought so valiantly for the preservation of our identity, Orthodox religion, philosophy, and democracy.
Greeks, President Obama stated in his Presidential Proclamation, faced brutal hardship, but maintained dignity and unwavering character, and “never lost faith in the ideals Greece has always represented” — ideals that have surpassed the touch of time. Filotimo, an inbred virtue with no sufficient English translation, is the essence of the Greek spirit. “Filotimo to the Greek is like breathing. A Greek is not a Greek without it. He might as well not be alive,” said the Greek philosopher Thales.
Filotimo, Passion, and a Zest for Life
They define the Greek spirit, as does Filotimo — a word that transcends differing cultures, faiths, languages, etc., meaning ‘love of brother.’ More deeply, filotimo is a way of life for the Greek people, a sense of duty, a moral obligation, the highest of all virtues, to honor our fellow man. Full of pride for the tenets of Greek heritage, Orthodoxy, Hellenism, and freedom, we carry these principles throughout all aspects of our lives, remembering the vibrant culture that gave birth to democracy, philosophy, art, government, and perhaps most important, filotimo.
Greek Independence Day
As Greek-Americans, we cherish our patrida, or motherland, and the traditions that were not lost crossing the Atlantic. We proudly embrace our Greek hearts and American minds, commemorating a “long legacy of hard-won freedom and justice — values which we must not only preserve, but renew and refresh in our own time.” Today, as Greece embarks on shaping a new sociopolitical history, we remember the struggle and hard-earned freedom, and have faith that Greece will once again persevere.
Zhtw h hellas!