Every September 15th is OPA! Day
UPDATE: Besides now being an official municipal holiday in Rethymno, Crete, Greece, we are excited and proud to report that OPA! Day 2011 was celebrated on five continents! Besides several locations in the North America, OPA! Day celebrations took place in Uruguay, South America, Melbourne, Australia, Cape Town, South Africa, and in various places across Europe. Plans to celebrate OPA! Day 2012 are underway in these and other locations around the world. See below for information about planning an OPA! Day 2012 celebration in your area. OPA!
We invented the concept for OPA! Day in 2008 while we were refecting upon the vast contributions Greeks have made to the world. We thought it would be a great idea if there was one day when all people around the world focused on and celebrated Greek culture and the many contributions that Greeks have made through the ages to our way and quality of life: in Astronomy, Architecture, Art, Biology, Democracy, Drama, Food/Diet, Language, Literature, Mathematics, Medicine, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Science, Sports, Theater, and of course, lessons on how to "Live & Work with Meaning!"
So OPA! Day was born. September 15th seemed like a good day—it was after summer holidays but not in the winter, it didn't interfere with too many other celebrations, and most of all, the United Nations had declared September 15th as the International Day of Democracy, which seemed especially fitting since Greece is known worldwide as the "cradle of democracy."
It also seemed fitting that the first OPA! Day celebration be held in Greece. So on September 15, 2010, the very first OPA! Day was celebrated in beautiful and historic Rethymno, Crete, Greece, at the lovely and hospitable Aegean Pearl Hotel. The sun was shining and the sea appeared to be more blue than ever. Over 400 Greeks and visitors from around the world attended this first OPA! Day event. Our partners at the Aegean Pearl prepared an extraordinary celebration—with beautiful decorations (including a vast array of blue and white balloons and flowers), tables full of traditional Greek and Cretan mezes (appetizers), newly-invented OPA! Day drinks (blue ouzo and raki, special blue water), and above all, a special OPA! Day cake,.
After introductory remarks from Mr. Eugenios Fragiadakis, who led the incredible Aegean Pearl Hotel team, Alex Pattakos, and Elaine Dundon, the Mayor of Rethymno, Mr. George Marinakis, shared some inspirational thoughts about the significance of OPA! Day. The Mayor was accompanied by Ms. Pepi Birliraki-Marnalaki, Rethymno's Vice-Mayor and Councillor with responsibility for Culture and Tourism. The Mayor's presentation and proclamation of OPA! Day in Rethymno was followed by the official cutting of the OPA! Day cake, mingling among the international guests and dignitaries, and enjoyment of traditional Greek music and dancing well into the night. Of course, everyone remembered to wear something blue, a national color of Greece.
Watch below for photos (slideshow format) and video clips, including television coverage, of the first and subsequent OPA! Day celebrations. On this page you'll also find articles from the print media about OPA! Day (including articles appearing in the Greek press about the celebrations in Rethymno) that may be downloaded in pdf format, as well as links to electronic media sources that pertain to OPA! Day.
The birth of OPA! Day on September 15, 2010, marks the beginning of a global initiative to celebrate all things Greek every September 15th. Next year celebrate OPA! Day on September 15, 2012, in your community, town, city, state, or province. Celebrate Greek culture in restaurants, tavernas, bars, stores, colleges, universities, and city centers around the world. Celebrate with special Greek food, special Greek drinks, special prices, Greek dancing, and, of course, wearing blue! Help spread the joys and value of Greek culture and contributions.
Watch this site for more information about OPA! Day celebrations around the world. And make sure to email us with information about your planned event so that we can advertise and promote it here. Finally, don't forget to join the OPA! Village so that you can share ideas, ask questions, and learn about OPA! Day 2012 planning and experiences through the OPA! Blog.