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Holidays or Public Holidays? In Greece and Corfu

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Last updated on February 14th, 2021 at 10:10 pm

What does the word holidays mean? [Public Holidays]

The word Holidays is translated as “Διακοπές” [Diakopes] in Greek but has a completely different meaning than in the English speaking countries, where the word holidays mean the public holidays.

In Greece, holidays(Diakopes) mean almost exclusively (with few exceptions of course) the days that people spend on a tourist resort during their Summer Holidays.
It has exactly the meaning of the English word “Vacations”

For the days when public services or shops are closed for religious or other reasons, and in general nothing works, we use the word “Argies” [Αργίες] which can be translated as “public holidays” in English.

So when someone wants to write an article about holidays in Corfu and is addressed to an English-speaking audience, it’s a little hard to figure out what exactly to include in this article.

Porto timoni
Porto timoni

Trapped mostly by the Greek meaning of the word we write only for the holiday days that someone will spend mostly in the summer on a sunny island.

So we refer to hotels, sights and describe activities that tourists may have when staying in Corfu.

We ignore even for informative reasons the official public holidays for each place and in our case the “argies” and semi-holidays that exist in Corfu and the Greek territory.

So on this page, we will mention the official or informal days of public holidays(argies, days off), the days when few people are working, and there are quite many in Greece and especially in Corfu.

If one of these argies happens to be on a Friday, it can be combined with the public semi-holiday of Saturday and Sunday and converted into a short 3-day vacation in a preferably nearby resort.

Public Holiday Days in Corfu and Greece

Holidays for the public sector.

  • January 1st, the first day of the Year
  • Epiphany on January 6
  • Monday, a movable festival 40 days before Easter, at the Monday marking the end of the Carnival and the beginning of the Lent for the Orthodox church, usually near the end of February or the beginning of March.
  • March 25th, Greece`s independence day, the largest national celebration, the anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821, which means the beginning of the modern Greek state.
  • Holy Friday, 2 days before Easter.
  • Great Saturday, a day before the Easter holiday
  • Easter
  • Easter`s second Day
  • May 1st, The Labor Day
  • 21st of May, the anniversary for the Union of the Ionian Islands with Greece, Public Holiday only in Corfu and the Ionian islands
  • The holiday of the Holy Spirit, 48 days or 7 weeks after Easter.
  • August 15th, the Virgin Mary’s assumption
  • October 28th, national celebration, the anniversary of NO, the start of Greece`s resistance against the Axis forces in 1940.
    We are the only country in the world that celebrates the beginning of the war and not its end!
    And there is a good reason for this, Greece resisted vigorously to the Axis forces for eight whole months before it was captured when other major countries fell within days.
  • December 12th, Saint Spyridon day, patron Saint of Corfu (Public holiday only in Corfu)
  • Christmas Day on December 25th
  • The Second Day of Christmas
  • All Sundays and Saturdays of the year

Semiholidays

The days when public services are running only for a few hours

  • December 24th, Christmas Eve
  • December 31st, New year`s eve.
  • All Saturdays

The aforementioned holidays are compulsory for the public sector and not necessarily for all, the mandatory holidays for all are 6, the following below.

Compulsory Holidays

  • March 25th, the day of the Greek independence, the Revolution of 1821
  • Easter day
  • The second day of Easter
  • August 15th, the Virgin Mary’s assumption
  • December 25th, Christmas
  • December 26th, Christmas second Day

There are also holidays due to a custom

  • New Year’s Day, January 1st
  • Epiphany on the 6th of the same month
  • The Monday 40 days before Easter
  • Holy Friday
  • The Labor Day on May 1st, if it falls on Easter`s Sunday, is transferred on the 3rd of May on Tuesday.
  • October 28th, the National celebration, the anniversary of NO to Axis demands for surrender

Holidays for the Education sector

  • November 17th is the anniversary of the Polytechnic student`s uprising in 1973 against the Junta.
    Holiday for Universities only, there is also a small event in schools in memory of the uprising.
  • January 30th, the three Hierarchs day, a holiday only for elementary schools.
  • The national celebrations of 28th October and 25th of March.
  • Monday 40 days before Easter
  • Labor Day at 1st of May
  • The Holy Spirit holiday, 48 days or 7 weeks after Easter.
  • All weekends
  • During the Christmas and Easter periods, we have two long holiday periods in education, for 2 weeks at Christmas (from 23 December to 7 January) and a week before Easter plus a week after it up to Sunday of Thomas.
  • Schools also stop in the summer for about 3 months (from June to early September)

Conclusion

There are plenty of Public Holidays in Greece, most of them due to religious feasts and some national anniversaries.

The public sector, what we call Civil Servants in Greece seems quite favored with several holidays.

Also in education, there are several weeks a year where schools remain closed, but this does not mean that education is poor, but the opposite.

On the contrary, the private sector appears to be the one with the least hours of free time.

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