Ohi Day, also known as Oxi Day or Ochi Day, is commemorated each year on October 28 in Greece and Cyprus, and by all the Greeks living around the world. This day is celebrated in remembrance of the moment when the then prime minister of Greece, Ioannis Metaxas, refused to let the Italian troops enter Greece’s border on October 28, 1940, during the Greco-Italian War. After receiving an ultimatum from the Italians, he responded in French (which was the diplomatic language at that time) that Greece refuses their demand even if it leads to war. Following this, Metaxas’s refusal became famous around the country and the people came out to the streets, shouting “Oxi!” (which means “No!” in Greek). This is remembered as a brave decision by Metaxas and is believed by millions of Greeks to be a heroic act.
History of Ohi Day
Ioannis Metaxas, the formal military general and the prime minister of Greece was given an ultimatum by the Italian prime minister, Benito Mussolini, in the Greco-Italian War. The Italian army required a passage to access the Greek-Albanian border. The ultimatum signaled the occupation of the Italian army of some areas of Greece.
Metaxas rejected the ultimatum by allegedly saying “Then it is war!” His refusal caused Greece to stand on the side of the Allies in the Second World War. The word “Oxi” became synonymous with this day as it represented the day the Greeks said “No” to the Italians trying to invade their country. The locals ran across the streets while screaming “Oxi”. The Greeks not only refused Mussolini’s wishes but they also made the Italians fall back from Albania. It is believed that if Metaxas hadn’t said no, the Second World War would have lasted longer.
There were many theories regarding the refusal of the Italian ultimatum, one of which is that if Greece had approved Italy’s entry, Hitler would have invaded Russia in spring rather than winter. During the time of the Greco-Italian War, Winston Churchill stated that from then onwards they would say “heroes fight like Greeks” rather than “Greeks fight like heroes.”
Ohi Day timeline
The Prime Minister of Italy instates a foreign policy and occupies Albania.
The Second World War begins and the Italians accelerate their preparations to attack Albania.
Mussolini, the Italian prime minister, gives an ultimatum to Greece’s prime minister, which is rejected.
Ohi Day is celebrated for the first time.
Ohi Day FAQs
Why did Italy attack Greece?
The Italian Prime Minister thought that the ports in Greece were controlled by the British and he wanted to invade Greece to take control of these ports.
Are Greece and Italy allies?
Greece and Italy are NATO allies and they maintain a close military corporation.
Why did Italy fail in WWII?
Italy was weak in the Second World War because it had fewer domestic raw material resources, had limited coal reserves, and had less domestic oil.
How to Celebrate The Ohi Day
Listen to Ohi Day songs
On this special day, people listen to many popular songs such as “Women of Epirus” and the Greek march “Pindos”. Events are held in which these songs are played, especially in parades.
Enjoy the military parade
There are military parades arranged on Ohi Day and students also take part in parades. These parades show the importance of this day. Many war veterans also take part in this day but every year their numbers are decreasing due to their age.
Make your own Greek flag
Ohi Day can also be celebrated by decorating flags or by singing the national anthem. The name of the National Anthem is “Hymn to Liberty,” which is usually heard at the end of events. People stand while singing the national anthem to show respect.
5 Amazing Facts About Ohi Day
The Greeks pushed back the Italians
Following the invasion of Italy into the country, the Greeks pushed the Italians back to the border within four months.
The first nation to win a battle against Axis powers
Although the military of Greece was not that strong and prepared, they were the first nation to win a battle against the Axis Powers during the Second World War.
The defeat of Greece
The Axis Powers were eventually able to defeat Greece when Hitler sent military aid to Italy.
The division of Greece
Following the defeat of Greece, the nation was divided into Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria.
The government officials
The government officials were exiled to Egypt.
Why We Observe Ohi Day
The defeat of the Axis Powers
This day celebrates the Greeks’ valiant and strong efforts against Italy. The events of this day resulted in the defeat of the Axis Powers in the Second World War. The Greeks won although they did not have as strong a military army compared to the Italians.
It educates the next generation
This day serves to educate the next generations about the important contributions of the Greeks in the Second World War. We celebrate this day to do a good job in educating the world about this important event.
It celebrates bravery
We celebrate this day to remember the bravery of the Greeks and how they were able to push back the Italian army within months of their invasion. The Greeks showed great heroism and efforts in protecting their country.
Ohi Day dates