OXI Day, also known as “Ochi Day” or “Anniversary of the No,” is a national holiday in Greece that commemorates the country’s resistance to Axis forces during World War II. The day is celebrated on October 28th every year and holds significant historical and cultural importance for the Greek people.
The story of OXI Day is rooted in Greece’s involvement in World War II. In 1940, Greece was ruled by the authoritarian regime of General Ioannis Metaxas. On October 28, 1940, Italy, led by Benito Mussolini, demanded that Greece allow Axis forces to enter Greek territory and occupy strategic positions. Metaxas, facing this ultimatum, responded with a resounding “Oxi,” which means “No” in Greek. This defiant response signified Greece’s refusal to surrender and accept Axis occupation.
The Italian invasion of Greece began shortly after Metaxas’s rejection, but to Mussolini’s surprise, the Greek army put up a fierce resistance. Despite being outnumbered and ill-equipped, Greek forces pushed back the Italian invaders and managed to capture territory in Albania.
This Greek resistance to the Italian invasion played a significant role in delaying the Axis powers’ plans to invade the Soviet Union. Adolf Hitler, seeing the Italian campaign in Greece falter, had to divert resources to assist Mussolini. This delay had a crucial impact on the overall course of World War II.
While Greece ultimately fell to Axis occupation in 1941 after the German invasion, OXI Day remains a symbol of Greek courage, resilience, and determination. It is celebrated with parades, ceremonies, and various patriotic events throughout Greece, honouring those who fought against the Axis powers during World War II and reminding the world of Greece’s resistance and contribution to the Allied victory.
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