September 30, 2006

Independence Day/Oktoberfest


On October 1st Greek Cypriots celebrate Independence Day in Stravaraland. Independence came in 1960: the island, contrary to all its inhabitants' expectations, became independent from the British Empire. The negotiations in London, between Greece, Turkey and Britain took place in February 1960, independence was then announced on August 14th 1960. I never understood why October 1st is the day of honour. There must be a reason, maybe someone can enlighten us on the issue.

Now what I am really interested in is when October 1st became the day of honour, why and when did it start getting celebrated in the island for all seasons? Was it celebrated with a parade in 1961 as it is in 2006? When did the first parade on October 1st take place? Was it a military one or a student one? Were the T/C taking part in this parade? I somehow have trouble believing that there was a parade for independence in 1961, let alone the T/C taking part in it. So, when did these parades start taking place? When was October 1st discovered? Questions, questions, I tried googling the issue but in my quick search did not find anything informative. Can someone shed some historical light?

13 Comments:

Anonymous Jim said...

Yeah, right...get everyone back into Nicosia for parades, receptions and all that bollocks in the middle of summer. You have got to be joking! Unless souvla on the beach was an acceptable way of celebrating (which by all rights it should be!), no one was ever going to accept independence in August.

Indeed, maybe this was Britain's last departing joke: "Give 'em independence, which they don't want, and do it just when the weather is most unbearable and so they all have to stand around sweating. That'll teach 'em to rebel!"

30 September, 2006 18:56  
Anonymous m said...

As far as making the day Oct 1st it was mostly for practical reasons. As you know Aug 15th is a holiday, nobody would be around to celebrate in Aug, so the moved they day of celebrations I guess. The date you celebrate an event like this is not so important after all.

As far as the military parade, I am not sure (but I could probably find out). My guess (and in fact I vaguely remember reading this somewhere) is that the first parade was a student one. The National Guard was only forme in 1963 if I am not mistaken and actually I do not think they celebrated independence back then. I am pretty sure the miltary parade only began after the 1974 invasion and then probably in the lates 70s or early 80s, once it was through our thick skulls that there would be no enosis, but that this was in fact the situation on the island. I will try and see what I can find. This is interesting.

I particularly find it amusing that at and after a military parade all you will hear is a bunch of politicians preaching about peace, of all things. Ironic, at least.

30 September, 2006 23:07  
Blogger Noullis said...

August 14th never quite cut it as The Day. Jim has a point regarding the reception/cocktail party season and, of course, the opressive heat.

So, it was moved, as was the case with a number of other countries, to October.

The flag was adopted so as not to offend anyone by making sure neither Red nor Blue was used and it also offended the person who lost a fortune on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" when the last question was "which country is depicted on its national flag?". Millions of people watched that episode, although the ratings were nowhere near as the Constantinople Grad Prix.

"Ela Kentro, eimai dame stes diskothikes, eshei kamian koursa?"

30 September, 2006 23:42  
Blogger apodimos Kypreos said...

Interesting responses, correct about the military parade because the national guard was a post 1963 event, and it probably did not include any T/C in the same way it does not include any other "minorities".

It would be an interesting trivia question to find out how it was decided, and by whom, that October 1st would be THE DAY. I guess it is correct that August 14th would be a bit too uncomfortable for parades...

As for the flag, you are right, it was chosen not to offend anyone. They did not think that the national anthem would offend either though, did they?

For the few souls who listened to the President last night, he told the T/C, among other things, that it is not with their independence that their safety and prosperity lies but with participation in the Republic. I know what I would choose if I were a T/C, and somehow it does not involve TP... But maybe I have a distorted view of the world...

01 October, 2006 11:00  
Anonymous m said...

Well, the National Guard is unconstitutional - it is nowhere to be found in the consitution, it is a Greek Cypriot invention and it is ethnic in nature, you are in only if you speak Greek and are Greek Orthodox. Therefore, it is a great place for all 88% of the country's youth to waste 2 yrs at, to expand the govt budget and flush lires down the toilet just to we can have the (illusion) that we might hinder a possible turkish attack (which as they are prospective EU members is growing less and less likely by the day). But then again we need something to make us feel proud and thump our chest like Tarzan to the world, ain't it? And all this goes along with European law I am sure....

As far as why Oct 1st, the only reason is practical considerations. By Oct everyone is back at work, school has opened etc etc. It is the first of the month, more sense than randomly picking another date.

As far as the military parade I did not find anything new... I mean our history does not include the history of Cyprus ... we are a little corner of Greece after all :P anywayz... I am very curious as well. I will find out.

01 October, 2006 12:16  
Anonymous Loxias said...

Today's "Politis" claims the following: between 1961 and 1963 Independence Day was indeed on 15 August. 15 August being the feast day of the Grand Rich Monastery the Prince-Archbishop belonged to, in 1963 the Cabinet decided to move it to 1 October.

Now, my theory on why October 1st. In the Orthodox Church calendar, the Virgin Mary's Protecting Veil over the Realm (Byzantine Empire, Russia -- whatever) is celebrated on October 1st.

(In Greece they have moved the said celebration to 28 October, as they moved the day their revolution broke out to 25 March -- so that both their national holidays coincide with something sacred...)

So, I guess moving Independence Day to October 1st could be yet another internal joke, contrived by some Stravaraland Church official, anyone's guess which. Like its sad flag.

This is just a conjecture, right?

01 October, 2006 14:54  
Anonymous Loxias said...

On parades: see this comment.

01 October, 2006 15:07  
Blogger Noullis said...

The Problem with October 1st, however, was the fact that it also happened to be China's National Day.

This has always irritated the Chinese Embassy in Nicosia, as it cannot hold its own National Day reception on the day itself.

From Eleftheria Square to Tiananmen Square, freedom rings out on this planet for all those willing to embrace it! The odd cocktail party inconvenience will never come between our brave and patriotic people.

Throw off the shackles of operession! Bring on the tanks and spread the word.

TeePee, can you hear me...? Ela kentron... eimai dame stes disko8hkes...

02 October, 2006 01:47  
Blogger michaella said...

if this helps... according to wikipedia

1960 is known as the "year of Africa."

we have the same independence day with nigeria, maybe that was planned to for obvious reasons:P

02 October, 2006 02:42  
Blogger stravoxylo said...

Independence? What independence?

- 37% of the land area is occupied by the Turkish Army and, on that area, there is about one soldier for every four people.
- A few more percent is Sovereign (military) Base Areas administered by the British Army, and no, it is not part of the UK, no, it is not part of the EU, no, the Acquis Communautaire does not apply, no, you do not have rights.
- The British Army can import or export whatever the hell it likes through the harbours, and there's nothing anyone can do about it (by Treaty of Establishment of the Republic of Cyprus).
- Also by the same Treaty, the Commander of the SBA's can, at any time he considers a state of emergency to prevail, have his staff waltz into Air Traffic Control, the airports and the harbours, and close the lot. The Treaty of Establishment makes for some fun reading, actually.
- Tens of thousands of citizens of the Republic are id-card and passport-carrying citizens of the European Union, but have no political rights, merely because they are "not resident in the areas controlled by the Republic". But they also get to pay no taxes, and get free medical care whatever their income because their actual income cannot be verified.
- The Chief of Staff of the armed forces is not a Cypriot, and when for the first time ever a Cypriot officer rose to the required seniority he was forced to resign.
- The insignia of the armed forces is not based on the Cypriot flag, but the Greek one.
- The armed forces are not named the "Cypriot Army" or the "Army of the Republic of Cyprus" but "Cyprus National Guard". Which nation does that refer to?

02 October, 2006 04:23  
Blogger michaella said...

sto idio pou anaferete i ethniki epitropi kata tis vias, i ethniki kiprou, i ethniki epitropi gia ton diaviti kai polla alla!

02 October, 2006 14:50  
Blogger apodimos Kypreos said...

Getting closer to the truth.

O "ierokyrikas-gymnasiarhis Antonis Stylianakis" se gramma tou ston Filelefthero, dimosieymeno stis 3 Oktwvriou, leei oti "to ypoyrgiko simvoylio, sto opoio symmeteihan o proedros makarios, a antiproedros dr koutsiouk, kai oi tote ellines kai tourkoi ypoyrgoi, stis 11 ioulioy 1963 orise ws imera eortasmou tis aneksartisias tis kyproy tin prwti oktwvriou. Stis 22 Femvroyariou 1979 to ypoyrgiko symvoulio kathierwse tin prwti Oktwvrioy ws dimosia argia."

So, in July 1963, the decision to move from August to October was made, and in 1979 it was even made a public holiday!

20 years later Independence day was proclaimed a public holiday! Kalo.

03 October, 2006 13:51  
Anonymous Demetris said...

Independence was granted on 16th August 1960, not 15th.

The National Guard was founded with presidential order by Makarios in 1964 I think responding to the emergency situation that unfolded in the island after the bloody Christmas of 1963. In the constitution there was a provision for a Cyprus army but this was never implemented because Makarios and Kucuk disagreed on its creation. Makarios wanted the army to be fully integrated with Greek and Turkish Cypriots, while Kucuk wanted ethnic separation on a company level.

17 October, 2006 23:09  

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