Festivals and Parades

With many Greek citizens of different generations living in the United States, they have come together to build communities where they can embrace their culture. One of the main hubs of Greek life is known to be Astoria, New York. The Greek culture has made roots in American society and has effectively spread throughout the entire country. Greek Americans have brought over traditions from their homeland and take part in celebrations that take place in Astoria every year.1

Image courtesy of Nicole Cavallo


Photo of St. Demetrios Food Festival. Image courtesy of Greekfestivalslisting.com







A popular celebration that both Greeks and non-Greeks enjoy is the festivals that Greek Churches host. Greek festivals have traced back to ancient times, and they were a central part in worshipping the gods. Some of these festivals involved competition, which led to the Olympic Games. Nowadays, there are festivals, such as food festivals, that are hosted today in celebration. These are family-friendly events, and people of all ethnicities are welcome. The purpose of these food festivals is to embrace the Greek culture and bring everyone together from both the church community and the outside community. Greek food is served, such as souvlaki, gyro, and loukoumades, Greek music is played, and the youth of the church dance traditional Greek dances in their festive costumes.2 At some festivals, they have rides and games for people of all ages to enjoy. In addition, there are vendors that sell clothing, jewelry, and other accessories so that everyone can feel connected to Greece. With the many churches located in Astoria, like St. Demetrios, whose festival is in mid-May, there are a lot of opportunities to come out and be a part of these food festivals. There are many websites that show when each festival is throughout the whole country.3 Attending these food festivals is an amazing experience because everyone who attends has the opportunity to feel Greek for a night.


Image courtesy of Jared Cox

Greek Parade. Image courtesy of Jim Henderson








In addition to festivals, the Greek parade is also a huge cultural experience that takes place in New York City. The famous Greek Independence Day Parade which takes place on 5th avenue in Manhattan each year occurs to celebrate Greek Independence, which is celebrated on the 25th of March.  This year it was the 195th anniversary of Hellenic Independence and was celebrated this year on April 10th. This Greek Parade is broadcasted on national television, and one can see churches and Greek Associations from all over New York and the surrounding areas march with pride as they celebrate the freedom that their ancestors fought so hard to attain. Members from churches in Astoria specifically take part in this, as they gather all of the members of the parish and build a float to participate in the parade. This parade would not exist if it wasn’t for the Federation of Hellenic Societies, which is located in Astoria. This group is in charge of the parade; they organize all of the churches and associations into an order of when to march, and they make sure everyone who is expected to be there is there, such as the Greek radio stations and spokespeople.4 After the parade, many participants and spectators go back to Astoria and eat at one of the many Greek restaurants with their fellow Greek Americans. It is a day that makes all involved feel immense pride in their culture and heritage.

The parade, as well as the festivals, are such important aspects of Greek culture because they embrace Greek unity and pride.5


Author: Paraskevi Roussos