On March 25, Greece and Cyprus mark the start of a 1821 war of independence against the Ottoman Empire. But in 2020, festivities were considerably more muted than in previous years.

Gone was the military march as well as a traditional parade of schoolchildren carrying Greek flags.

Instead, a flyover by F16 military aircraft and a small parade, held in the Turkish border town of Kastanies, was shown on TV.

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou also placed a wreath of flowers at the foot of the Tomb of the Unknown soldier in Syntagma Square in Athens.

In a TV address, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the lack of celebration did not mean that Greece was not commemorating its national day.

“We do not celebrate March, 25 in the streets and in squares. But we honor this day from our homes with our waving flags and our thoughts are turned today to the fight of our ancestors for freedom”, Mitsotakis said.

He also paid tribute to “the heroes in white and green gowns”, meaning the medical staff dealing with coronavirus cases in the country.

“Today we are giving them strength, and we are listening to their recommendations: we are not going out, we stay at home!”.

According to the last official data, Greece counts 743 confirmed cases and twenty deaths from the coronavirus, out of a population of nearly 11 million inhabitants.

Since Monday, the country is under general lockdown and residents have to justify their reasons for leaving the house.

The Greek War of Independence took place between 1821 and 1830, following the conflict Greece, backed by Britain, France and Russia, became an independent state.