"Greek Independence Day, national holiday celebrated annually in Greece on March 25, commemorating the start of the War of Greek Independence in 1821. It coincides with the Greek Orthodox Church’s celebration of the Annunciation to the Theotokos, when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would bear the son of God... The cry “Freedom or death” became the motto of the revolution... The revolution ended in 1829 when the Treaty of Edirne established an independent Greek state." (britannica.com)
Chicago has one of the worlds largest Greek populations. Greeks made contributions to our city's history, culture, art, food, business, charities, and the professions.
At the turn of the last century, many Greeks settled on the near west side, creating a community with neighboring Italians. It was their entry point to Chicago. As they prospered they moved into the neighborhoods and suburbs.
Most of the neighborhood was torn down to build the University of Illinois Chicago campus.
The remaining area of Greektown encompasses Halsted Street from Congress to Lake Streets and one or two blocks west. It is a dining and nightlife area with a sprinkling of wholesale and small retail establishments. The area is also in the midst of major gentrification.
In 2011, the National Hellenic Museum, opened its doors in the neighborhood. The 40,000 square foot institution is the first and only museum dedicated to Greek history from ancient times to the present. The museum started as the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center in 1983. It was located downtown in the 1990s. The institution moved to Adams and Halsted Street in 2004. In 2011 it moved into the new building at 333 South Halsted.
The Greek Independence Day Parade stepped off at 2:00 p.m. from Randolph and Halsted on Sunday. Though the weather was raw, windy, and misty, the marchers and spectators enjoyed the celebration.
Governor Bruce Rauner and mayoral candidate Chuy Garcia marched in the parade as honorary marshals. Several Greek organizations, schools, associations, and businesses participated in the parade.
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