Thousands attend 193rd Greek Independence parade - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Thousands attend 193rd Greek Independence parade

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MYFOXNY.COM - Thousands of people flocked to the heart of New York City on Sunday to celebrate the 193rd annual Greek Independence parade.

The parade has a strong tradition, representing the largest gathering of Greek-Americans outside Greece.

Since 1938, the parade attracts over 100,000 spectators annually with approximately 25,000 participants.

It is a day of remembrance, pride and inspiration for the Greek-American Community.

 "The common struggles of Hellas and the United States for independence, freedom, democracy, respect for human dignity, social justice, and for self-determination by the American and Greek Revolutions constitute the foundation of our nations' common heritage," says the Chairman of the Parade, Petros Galatoulas.

The parade is also a celebration of the creation of an independent Greek nation. 

Following the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, most of Greece came under Ottoman rule. During this time, there were unsuccessful revolts by Greeks to gain independence from the Ottoman Turks.

But after hundreds of years under Turkish rule, a successful war of independence  was finally waged by Greek revolutionaries between 1821 and 1832, with later assistance from Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and several other European powers against the Ottoman Empire. 

It all started in 1814, when a secret organization called the Filiki Eteria was founded with the aim of liberating Greece. The Filiki Eteria planned to launch revolts in the Peloponnese, the Danubian Principalities, and in Constantinople and its surrounding areas. The first of these revolts began in1821 in the Danubian Principalities, but was soon put down by the Ottomans. The events in the north urged the Greeks in the Peloponnese into action and eventually the Maniots declared war on the Ottomans.

This declaration was the start of a "Spring" or revolutionary actions from other controlled states against the Ottoman Empire.

Following years of negotiation, three Great Powers, Russia, Britain and France, decided to intervene in the conflict and each nation sent a navy to Greece. Once the news spread that combined Ottoman–Egyptian fleets were going to attack the Greek island of Hydra, the allied fleet intercepted the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet at Navarino.

After a week long standoff, a battle began which resulted in the destruction of the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet.

With the help of a French expeditionary force, the Greeks drove the Turks out of the Peloponnese and proceeded to the captured part of Central Greece by 1828.

As a result of years of negotiation, Greece was finally recognized as an independent nation in May 1832.

The victory is celebrated on March 25th by the modern Greek state, which is a national day, and for many Greek expatriates, an international holiday.

The parade lives deep in the heart of many New Yorkers especially those from the Queens neighborhoods of Astoria, Whitestone and Bayside. Those areas possess some of the largest Greek and Cypriot communities in the United States.

The Greek cultural imprint can be seen in the numerous Greek restaurants, bakeries, tavernas and cafes, as well as several Greek Orthodox churches through-out Astoria and Bayside. 
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