Melbourne’s Marvellous Mahi Weekend Celebrates Cretan Culture and Resistance

On Saturday the 25th of May and Sunday the 26th of May major events were held across Melbourne to commemorated the Battle of Crete.

The Melbourne events were headlined by Cretan musician Dimitri Spiridakis and his band who arrived to the Victoria capital following official events in Sydney and Canberra as coordinated by the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand. The musicians made a great impression to the local Cretan Community from the outset, taking time to meet dancers and share dinner at the Cretan Brotherhood following a special dance practice on Wednesday the 22nd of May. The remainder of the week was filled with formal events and the official delegation attended wreath laying ceremonies, lectures and met with local political figures in the lead up to the Dinner Dance on Saturday.

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Hardwork from the Dancers, Committees and Musicians payed came to bare on Saturday the 25th of May when a Cretan Glendi was held at the Cretan Brotherhood to commemorate the Battle of Crete. The flagship annual event saw performances from the Cretan Brotherhood and Pancretan dance groups including special performances from the two groups together highlighting the unity of the community. A sold out hall enjoyed the performance from the dance groups, musicians and food in what was a wonderful night.

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The following morning, Sunday the 26th of May, a Church service was held at St Efstathios in South Melbourne followed by an official parade at the Shrine of Remembrance. The parade was well attended by the Cretan Brotherhood, Pancretans, schools and community groups who all contributed to wreath laying ceremonies at the eternal flame and the Greek-Australian war memorial soon after.

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Later in the day a lunch was held at the main Pancretan Hall in Wantirna where speeches from officials and ex-servicemen preceded performances from the Cretan Brotherhood Dance group and the Pancretan Dance group.

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The Battle of Crete has grown in profile in recent years with events spread across the year thanks to the hard work by the recently formed Battle of Crete Commemorative Council. The Council is proudly supported by the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and Victoria and the Pancretan Association of Melbourne as well as Greek communities and RSL clubs Australia wide.

The Battle of Crete commemorate the events of May 1941 where German forces attempted to take the island of Crete during World War Two. Cretan Civilians defended their home with unprecedented levels of passion and sacrifice alongside ANZAC soldiers helping to disrupt the German campaign.

Written by Emmanuel Heretakis (Communications)
Photos by Maggie Theodorakis (Cretan Brotherhood Member)