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March 22, 2013

Peabody plans to celebrate Greek holiday

(Continued)

“The Greek community is an important part of the fabric of Peabody,” the mayor commented in an interview. “Their contributions to our community have been and continue to be widespread and meaningful. I’m proud to recognize Greek Independence Day.”

Dina Kalaitzidis, principal of the Greek School at St. Vasilios Church, will lead her Greek students wearing traditional costumes in songs, dances and poems. That will be a follow-up to celebrations at the school starting at 1 p.m. Sunday. Finally, the big annual Greek Independence Day Parade is scheduled for April 7 in Boston.

“It’s a big holiday,” says Kalaitzidis, who notes that the Greek presence in Peabody goes back more than 100 years, to 1905. “A lot of Greeks came from the Peloponnese ... the southern part of Greece.” Initially, the Greeks joined other immigrants to labor in the leather industry.

Kalaitzidis also works at Higgins Middle School, and she notes that Independence Day isn’t forgotten in the public schools, as Greek students traditionally wear the national colors, blue and white, to their classes in order to honor the day.

Sometimes, Dakos indicates, he wonders if young people have the same feeling he does for the history and the sacrifices made by their ancestors. Part of the problem, however, might be the Americanization of people here.

He recalls his youth, when it was expected that Greeks would marry Greeks. “But my two daughters are married to non-Greeks. In this country, it doesn’t matter what you are as much as who you are.”

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