"Greeks of Chicago in a Parade" article - Chicago Daily Tribune, April 7, 1895

Published in Chicago Daily Tribune, April 7, 1895

Natives of the Little Nation Celebrate the
Anniversary of Their Freedom

Grecian independence was commemorated by the Greeks of Chicago, who paraded the streets yesterday afternoon and presented the Greek comedy "Babel" last evening at North Side Turner Hall.  The day celebrated by Greeks is the anniversary of the beginning of the eight years' war that ended in making Greece a free and independent country.  The rebellion against Turkish domination was begun March 25, 1821, according to the old style calendar, which is eleven days behind time.  A banner carried in the parade bore the inscription:
The parade was formed at North Side Turner Hall at 2 o'clock.  It was participated in by the Greek Society Lycurgus, the Benevolent Society of Greeks, and the Grecian community.  There were 300 men in the parade which marched down Clark street with the white and blue bars and white Greek cross alongside the Stars and Stripes floating at the head of the procession.  The Grand Marshal of the parade was N. Koumoungis, President of the Benevolent Society of Greeks.  The aides were A. Manousos and John Refakes.  There were a score of carriages decorated with Grecian and American flags bringing up the rear of the procession.  The line of march was through the down-town district on Clark to Van Buren, east to State, thence to Lake, to Dearborn, then north to Diversey, on Clark and back to the hall.

The marching music was Grecian, alternating between the two airs.  "Mavrine Nykta Sta Vouna" and "O Ligeron Ke Kopteron Spathi Mou."  The latter march, the name of which signifies "My Good, Sharp Sword," was sounded many a time during the eight years' struggle against the Turks, inspiriting the Greeks in their fight for liberty.  The composer, Rigas Forcous, was a martyr to the cause of Grecian liberty.  During the war he was captured and drowned by the Turks at Belgrade.  When the parade was over the Greeks returned to the hall and sang the Greek hymn, "Apta Kokala Vgalmene."

The Greeks in Chicago number 2,000 at present, and form a congregation of the orthodox Greek Church, which is located at No. 181 Kinzie street.  In the community of 2,000 there are but thirty Greek housewives.

The other married men in the community have found American wives in the land of their adoption.

The play which followed in the evening was given for the benefit of the Greek Church.  The play has been produced in this city once before.  It is a comedy, treating of the time the Independence of Greece was achieved.  The vein of humor in the play is worked out of the complications that arise because of the dialects employed in the different States of Greece.  The language of modern Greece is corrupted by reason of the debasing slavery which Greece suffered under the yoke of many foreign powers.  The ancient people suffered particularly under Mohammedan sway, which was ended in 1828.  In the play a Greek from Anatolia, another from Peloponesus, a Cretan, an Albanian, and a Chiote meet in an inn and learn that Greece has just been declared an independent country.  They decide to celebrate as patriots by making merry.  In their inability to understand one another fully they get mixed up and a row ensures.  A Scholar who knows ancient Greek and all modern dialects comes on the scene and helps matters out.  The finale is happy and the evening's entertainment was concluded by singing the Greek national hymn.