28th October is ‘Ochi’ day, pronounced ohee, meaning NO. No, is what Greece’s prime minister, Ioannis Metaxas, replied on 28 October, 1940 to Mussolini’s ultimatum to allow Axis forces to enter Greece and occupy key locations in the country, 1940 – 1941).

Thereafter, a relentless resistance followed by the Greeks putting up against the invading and occupying Germans, until liberation in 1944.

The six months of fighting caused by the Greek resistance of the Axis powers also delayed Germany’s invasion and campaign against what is today the Commonwealth of Independent States (the former Soviet Union). The fierce resistance of the Greeks in Epiros, Macedonia, Thessalia, Roumeli, Attiki, Peloponnesos, Crete, and the rest of Greece to the Germans caused delays. It overturned German plans to occupy Moscow before the onset of the heavy and deadly Russian winter.

This was something the Germans had not planned and thus were unprepared. The German war machine literally bogged down and froze. The Russians were successful in repulsing and defeating the Germans. This was a major turning point of World War 2. This signaled the beginning of the end of the German Third Reich. The sacrifice and success of the Greek armed forces, the Greek guerrillas, and the ordinary Greek citizens drew the admiration of the free world and kindled hope for the final victory of the Allied powers.

We should note that Greek Prime Minister Metaxas was also a military dictator. Yet the Greeks united behind the belief that the defense of their country, which they wished to become more democratic again, was very important. That is another symbolism and irony of the 28th of October 1940, that the Greek people not only fought the fascist Axis powers invading Greece, but also later fought the extremist forces that were trying to rule Greece and not allow it to be a democracy.

The Greeks faithfully met their obligations to their allies, with heroism and self-sacrifice. As a small country, the human sacrifice and mega-devastation Greece suffered in World War 2 were much more than those of the almost all other countries that were on the victorious Allied side. In World War 2, Greece lost one of the highest percentages of its population in comparison to the other members of the victorious Allies. Greece lost, on a percentage basis, about 12% of its population, meaning about one million people.

The world leadership of the time, including Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, recognized the decisive contribution of the Greeks. The timeless character of the modern Greek was shining brightly for all to see: passionate, determined, and proud.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said of the Greeks: «Today we say that Greeks fight like heroes, from now on we will say that heroes fight like Greeks.»

Today is a public holiday both in Greece and Cyprus and in every corner of Greece there will be celebrations with parades.

Yesterday my husband and I went to the city centre where you can see some pictures and follow our stroll from Vassilisis Sophias Street, all way through Hermou Street, the most commercial road of Athens with all the shops towards Monastiraki and finally sitting at a Mezedopoleio (selling mezedes) called Dioskouri, near Thisseio.

The weather was great and the streets were packed with tourists all over the world. The coffee shops and tavernas were full as it was lunch time when we arrived there.

The food was not bad and more than enough to feed four. The Horiatiki salad had tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, olives, feta, some capers which are not visible in the photo and some pickled green peppers. I am not sure what these peppers are called but I think they may be jalapeno peppers, which have a slightly warm, burning sensation when eaten. I could eat just the salad and need nothing else but my husband kept ordering and ordering things. The olive dip was fantastic. I ate it all by myself. The kalamari, potatoes and smelt were good but I cannot say exceptional and the tyropita although it looks delicious we just tried a little piece and left the rest.

The cheese in side was not even visible and it was mixed in a bechamel cream and something which resembled like bread crumbs.

The price was not bad at all. Considering that we were in the most touristic place of Athens, 50 Euros for all that, plus 1/2 kilo white wine and a coke was quite cheap.

If you want to make this tyropita yourself, here is what you’ll need:

Tyropita

See printable recipe here.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Baking time: 35 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 150 grams of feta cheese
  • 100 grams of anthotyro (or if you don’t have any, add graviera or halloumi or double the amount of feta)
  • 8 sheets of phyllo
  • olive oil
  • 1- 2 eggs

Directions:

Press cheese with a fork to crumble and add egg and mix. Depending on the size of the eggs if the mixture is not very creamy, add another one. Open a phyllo sheet and sprinkle a spoonful of olive oil which brush to oil all the phyllo. Add another phyllo on top. Place filling on the top centre of the phyllo and fold left and right sides towards the centre. Start folding into a triangle shape until all the phyllo has been folded. Grease a baking tin with some olive oil, place tyropita and brush some extra olive oil on top.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C, for about 35 minutes until the phyllo turns golden brown.

I am not sure if you know about this, most of you may probably know by now, but late last evening, before closing my computer, I checked my e-mail and found an e-mail from Bee, of Jugalbandi, informing me that Bri has passed away. May God rest her soul.

I was intending to post something for the Breast Cancer Awareness Event tomorrow but because of the news I wanted to post it today, so I connected it with my post.

I am submitting this recipe to Leyof Cilantro & Lime who is hoping to promote awareness of breast cancer and its effects by posting information about it on her blog and drawing attention to the issue through our participation in her event Baking for Breast Cancer Awareness .

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Χωρίς σχόλια on 28th October 1940 – Ochi Day

  1. Ο/Η Peter λέει:

    ZHTO 28th of October. Greek communities like here in Toronto take pride in holding parades on October 28th and for March 25th.

  2. Ο/Η Bellini Valli λέει:

    I was so sorry to here about Bri. Life is so fleeting. Enjoy every moment of your day with your family sis.

  3. Ο/Η Ley λέει:

    Your tyropita looks so good! Thank you so much for participating in this. I’m so sorry to hear about Bri…she battled valiantly with breast cancer, and I know that her death has devastated so many of us.

  4. Ο/Η Divya Vikram λέει:

    Was sorry to hear abt Bri..Dishes look great.

  5. Ο/Η Peter G λέει:

    I love your history lesson Ivy. I had no idea about Metaxas being a military dictator. I love the 28th October parades…they’re quite prominent here in Australia especially in Melbourne. Tyropita will always be a fave! And yes I too was saddened by Bri’s death…may she rest in peace.

  6. Ο/Η Adam λέει:

    Well Happy Oct 28th! And thanks for sharing that story and a bit of a history lesson, I thought it was very cool.

    I really like the tyropita with that beautiful cheese, I think it makes a nice entry for this event. And I’m sorry to hear about your friend, may she rest in peace.

  7. Ο/Η Ivy
    Twitter:
    λέει:

    Thanks everybody for the wishes.

  8. Ο/Η Sylvia λέει:

    Happy ochi Day ,I love food blogs “cos I learn much about history, traditions and others thing, not only food. Thanks for share, Ivy. And I love,honestly love the recipe. I certainly make, because I love feta cheese as well phylo dough

  9. Ο/Η Cakelaw λέει:

    Happy Ochi Day! I really enjoyed the history behind this post – I did not know the story behind the Greeks in the war before. Love the food pictures too.

  10. Ο/Η Ben λέει:

    Happy Ochi day, Ivy. I love to learn more about the history of my friend’s countries and how they celebrate important days like this. Thanks for the lesson and the great food you are sharing with us in this heroic day for Greece (and the whole world)

  11. Ο/Η Ivy
    Twitter:
    λέει:

    Thanks Sylvia. If you love feta, then you’ll love this cheese pie.

    Thanks Cake. Then, you probably don’t know that a lot of Aussies came and fought together with the Greeks.

  12. Ο/Η Ivy
    Twitter:
    λέει:

    Thanks Ben. I also learn a lot from your blog about Mexican traditions.

  13. Ο/Η Rosa λέει:

    Oh, no… That a wonderful tribute.

    Your Tyropita looks delicious! I love that speciality! Today, we ate a wonderful Greek stew with quinces and pork.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  14. Ο/Η Bobby λέει:

    Ivy, sorry to hear about your friend :(

    This Tyropita looks great. Sounds like a nice blend of cheeses as well. This is much similar to the way I make egg rolls or rangoons, could these be deep fried as well?

  15. Ο/Η Sam Sotiropoulos λέει:

    Ζήτω η 28η Οκτωβρίου!!! Ivy, thanks for reminding us of the value of the October 28 commemoration. I have been hearing rumblings lately about the abandoning of this parade out here in the Diaspora as it reminds everyone of the victories over the Italian fascist forces. The reasoning is that since we are now in the EU along with the Italians we really ought not to be aggravating a sore spot with our Italian friends and neighbours. But the truth, as you point out, is that the Greek victories and the great «No!» or “Ohi” is NOT about victory over the Italians. It is about the first great moral boost for the Allied Powers, the first victories of WWII over the Axis powers. It was a significant feat, and was remarked by Churchill and other leaders of the time.

    As for your tyropita… ah, the day will come quickly when I will be able to taste your cooking first hand, until then, I can only admire the photos and your storytelling. Thanks for both!

    As for Bri, I did not know her, but please accept my sincerest condolences for you and her family.

    Be Well,

    Sam

  16. Ο/Η Ivy
    Twitter:
    λέει:

    Rosa, I’ve been debating what to do with the quinces I bought last week from the farmers” market and I had a savory recipe in mind or even a spoon sweet.

    I also make deep fried just the same way but much smaller.
    http://kopiaste.org/2007/12/ea.....with-feta/

    Sam, that’s very sad to hear that they will stop the parades. We must never forget that part of our history. My post is about that period and the fascist regime of Moussolini. Italians and Germans are our friends and we have nothing against them.
    Sam, is that a hint that we shall be seeing you soon. Shall be glad to meet you and your family.

  17. Ο/Η Ning λέει:

    Thank you for sharing a very important part of Greek history. It is always very interesting that we can learn more about a country through food blogs. I love this recipe as I love cheeses. I just have to find phyllo as big as yours.

  18. Ο/Η Rosie λέει:

    Ivy I very sorry to hear about your friend.

    Thank you for sharing with us this history very important to remember these events. Your Tyropita looks amazing :D

    I must look up this event – Baking for Breast Cancer Awareness

    Rosie x

  19. Ο/Η Deeba λέει:

    Sorry to hear about Bri. She was very brave throughout & fought till the very end. My thoughts are with her family & friends…may she rest in peace.

  20. [...] To all the Greek and Cypriot friends and readers of my blog “Chronia Polla” for today’s National Holiday, Ochi Day. [...]

  21. Ο/Η alison λέει:

    sorry…and god bless bri!
    and thanks for a this short history lesson!

  22. Ο/Η MerrillA λέει:

    Having served with the Detachment 15, 2140th Comm Group in Lefkas, Greece, in 1977, I had a chance to observe their Ochi Day. I was impressed with the celebration. My 12 months in Greece are filled with lifelong memories of one of the best assignments I had.

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