Thessaloniki to celebrate patron saint, Ochi Day as usual, says minister

Thessaloniki to celebrate patron saint, Ochi Day as usual, says minister

Despite being put on restrictions to stem a spike in Covid-19 infections, the northern port city of Thessaloniki will be celebrating its patron saint, Demetrius, on October 26 and the national Ochi Day holiday on October 28 with its customary procession and parade, Interior Minister Makis Voridis said on Monday.

Speaking to state broadcaster ERT, Voridis said the decision to go ahead with public celebrations of these events was prompted by adequate vaccination coverage and the fact that leisure, entertainment and other activities have already reopened.

“We couldn’t say that the parade is the only thing we’re not doing,” he said.

Voridis dismissed speculation that the annual Ochi Day parade would be restricted to vaccinated people only, adding that the use of masks will be “strongly recommended.”

Ochi Day, marking Greece’s rejection of an Italian ultimatum and its entry into World War II on October 28, 1940, is a national holiday that is celebrated with military and student parades.

Voridis noted that an official announcement concerning how exactly the anniversary will be marked in Athens and in other parts of the country will be made within the next few days.

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