Greek Culture in Commack


Hendrikje Glauner/Unsplash

Francesca Marzo, Copy Editor

The Greek Independence parade in New York City was held in late April and led by junior Christina Z. 

The parade is hosted by The Federation of Hellenic Societies and is held to celebrate the independence of Greece from Turkey. The holiday is typically celebrated on March 25 but the parade was held back until April 30. 

Christina Z was selected as Miss Greek Independence 2023 at the Miss Greek Independence pageant on April 2. Christina was recognized for her Greek Excellency and knowledge on Greek Independence Day history. Prior to the parade, The Federation of Hellenic Societies held a series of events, one of them being the Gala. 

“My favorite part of the experience was the Gala as I got to meet many new people with the same cultural background as me,” said Christina Z., via text message.

The significance of the parade is displayed through the Greek-American community every year.

“The parade is an extremely important event for the Greek American community in New York as it unites us all and helps keep the community alive. It is also a way to honor everyone who fought for Greece’s independence,” said Christina Z., via text message. 

Commack is home to a connected Greek community.

“Like most Greeks I am pretty strongly connected to my culture and therefore participate in most Greek traditions like holidays and other customs. Some of the holidays me and my family celebrate are orthodox Easter and name days. We make traditional Greek food like kourambiathes [green Easter cookie], avgolemono [soup], and lamb from the spit to name a few,” said junior Alexa V, via text message. 

The Greek community in Commack is interconnected.

“I’d say the Greek community in Commack is pretty vast but still connected. I personally am not very close with every single family but we all know of each other. I think one of the main reasons for these close ties is because most if not all of the Greek families in Commack go to the same Greek Orthodox church. Whenever a new Greek family comes to Commack we also know very soon and it’s usually through church. I also know a lot of Greek people my age through the Greek school program at the church. I feel very connected to the Greek community here in Commack because of these connections,” said senior Athena E., via text message.

The Greek community is kept vibrant because of the students who keep traditions alive. 

“To me, being Greek means celebrating and carrying on the traditions of my culture, making sure I stay connected to those roots. Some of these customs include preserving the language and learning traditional recipes to pass onto future generations, as well as learning Greek dance and listening to Greek music,” said Athena E., via text message. 

Maintaining these Greek roots help maintain their heritage. 

“I maintain my language and culture by constantly learning about our history and speaking Greek with my family. Being a part of my church helps me stay constantly connected to my roots and my church has provided Greek school and Sunday school for me for seven years,” said junior Katerina V., via text message.

Although there is a large Greek community in Commack, there is no extra-curricular club dedicated to Greek culture. 

“My friend, Alexa V, and I believe a Greek Club would be a great addition to the school, and it would unite the Greek-American students in the high school,” said Christina, via text message. 

In addition, despite having numerous students who follow the Greek Orthodox Church, the school calendar does not acknowledge some holidays. 

“I think that the Commack district could do a little more to better address Greek heritage. We do share religious holidays like Christmas with other cultures. However Greek Easter is usually not on the same day as Catholic Easter so I have to go to school the day after my Easter. New Years is also a week long celebration in Greece, but I would say that in Greek-American culture Pascha is the most important and it would be nice to not worry about going to school the next day while celebrating with family,” said Athena E., via text message.🔳