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Boston Celebrates Greek Independence Day with Parade and Gala Dinner (Vid & Pics)

BOSTON – Boston’s 26th annual Greek Independence Parade was held on May 1st with much enthusiasm, dynamism, songs, and chants of  “Long Live Greece!”

Under a blue sky on a sunny day with the temperature in the upper 70’s, hundreds of Greek School students dressed in colorful traditional Greek costumes holding Greek and American flags, accompanied by their teachers and parents, shouted “Greece Never Dies!” while bands played patriotic music related to Greece’s liberation from Ottoman rule.

The parade began at 1PM in front of the Prudential Tower near the Boston Public Library. Marchers proceeded on Boylston Street and ended across from the Four Seasons Hotel. Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, the Minister of Justice of Greece Konstantinos Tsiaras, and Stratos Ethimiou, Consul General of Greece in Boston, served as parade Grand Marshals.

The dignitaries at the starting point of the parade. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

Present at the parade were former governor of Massachusetts and past presidential  candidate Mike Dukakis, Demetris  Kouvelas from Thessaloniki representing the Parliament of Greece, the mayors of Lowell Sokhary Chau and of Somerville Katjana Ballantyne, State representative Efstathia Booras from New Hampshire, State senator Leonidas Raptakis from Rhode Island, Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos, and Bishop Joakim of Amisos.

More than fifty-eight units marched along with eight floats and six bands as thousands of spectators from Boston and all across New England enjoyed the parade.

The local group of Evzones added more enthusiasm and meaning to the parade, representing the bravery of the heroes of March 25, 1821. The group is comprised of  21 young men from the Greek-American Community.

Early in the morning the floats started to gather on Boylston Street, inspected by officials of the City of Boston. By noon the pupils of the schools, the members of societies, and parishioners from local churches began to congregate.

Former governor of Massachusetts and past presidential candidate Michael Dukakis speaks to Theodore Kalmoukos at the parade.(Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

A doxology was offered in the morning after the Divine Liturgy at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Boston officiated by Archbishop Elpidophoros with co-liturgists  Metropolitan Methodios of Boston and Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos. A coffee reception followed for the entire congregation.

After the parade a cultural event with dances performed by various  Greek-American dance groups was held in Boston Common.

The evening before, on April 30, the annual parade dinner hosted by the Federation was a sold-out event. It took place at  Newton Marriot Hotel.

Rev. Athanasios Nenes, presiding priest of the Taxiarches Greek Orthodox parish of Watertown, offered the benediction, representing Metropolitan Methodios, and the national anthems were sung by Aggeliki Psonis, Esq.

‘Caryatides’ carry the Greek Flag which symbolically covers all of Boston, reminding all that Boston is the Athens of America. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

The Freedom Award was presented to the prominent professor and physician Dr. Nicholas Madias. (See separate article in this issue).

The presentation of scholarships followed, distributed by the head of the Scholarship Committee of the Federation Demetrios Mattheos. The recipients included: Federation Scholarship:  Maria-Angelika Patsaouras; Harry Katis Scholarship:  Sophia Stephanopoulos; National Herald Scholarship: Harry Katsaros; In memory of Ioannis K. Rammos Memorial Scholarship: Zaharias Vlachos; Evoikos Society in Memory of Dr. George Papanikolaou: Alexander Vlachos; In Memory of George and Lola Geraniotis Scholarship: Elefteria Lampropoulos.

A dance performance was presented by the Sons and Daughters of Alexander the Great, celebrating their 50th year; the group’s director is George Papadopoulos.

The Gala’s Emcee was Dimitrios Ioannidis, Esq.

The dignitaries on the reviewing stand joyously greet the marchers, especially the little children. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)
The Dance Group ‘Sons and Daughters of Alexander the Great’ performing at Boston Commons after the parade. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)
Theodore Kalmoukos presents the National Herald Scholarship to Harry Katsaros, a student of Boston University. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)
Dimitris Kouvelas, a member of the Greek Parliament, speaks at the Gala of the Federation. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)
Two Greek-American girls dressed in traditional Greek costumes holding the Greek flag march with pride.(Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

 

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