OHI Day – October 28: “Greeks Fight to Death”

    What is Ohi Day is?

    October 28th is a Greek National Holiday celebrated by military and student parades across the country.

    October 28 is one of the most important national holidays in Greece. All businesses and shops are closed except cafes and restaurants. 

    What do Greeks celebrate on Ohi Day?

    Every year on October 28, Greeks celebrate the moment when their then Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas refused the entry to Italian troops on the Greek border. This happened in 1940, during the Second World War. 

    What makes the Ohi Day so important?

    On October 28, 1940 Italy demanded that Greece give up control over certain areas of its territory or face war with Italy and Germany.

    On the morning of October 28, 1940, Greek leader Ioannis Metaxas faced the following ultimatum from Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini: Surrender to Axis Powers, or fight for survival by entering World War II.

    This was known as “the Battle for Greece” because it was fought between Allied forces (where Greece belonged to) against Axis powers (where Italy belonged to).

    This heroic act forced Greece to enter World War II, because until that day Greece had remained neutral. Although Greece did not have the necessary troops and supplies to go to war, Greeks fought against the Nazis and the Axis allies.

    Metaxas’ refusal became known throughout Greece as the great OHI (NO) of the Greek people to the Italian dictator Mousolini.

    What does Ohi mean in Greek?

    Ohi in Greek means NO!

    How the word Ohi is linked to October 28th?

    After receiving an ultimatum from Musolini, Metaxas responded in French (which was the diplomatic language at that time “Alors, c’est la guerre,” meaning “Well then, it is war”.

    Metaxas’s message to the people of Greece was “fight to your death” and implied “NO” to the demands of the Italians, even if that leads to war.

    Metaxas’s refusal became famous around Greece and Greek people came out to the streets, shouting “Ohi!”

    This is still perceived as a brave and heroic act by Metaxas since Greece was a very small country, totally unprepared to start a war with the Axis powers of Germany and Nazi Germany.

    OHI DAY – until 2026

    2021October 28Thursday
    2022October 28Friday
    2023October 28Saturday
    2024October 28Monday
    2025October 28Tuesday
    2026 October 28Wednesday

    Quotes about Ohi Day

    Greek Ohi Day Quiz

    Greek Ohi Day Quiz

    Click on the image for our Greek Ohi Day Quiz

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