The Hellenic Society Celebrates Oxi Day


Oxi Day is a major celebration in Greece. (Courtesy of Maria Skevas for The Fordham Ram)

On Oct. 28, the Hellenic Society celebrated Oxi Day.

The Hellenic Society is Rose Hill’s Greek Club, which meets biweekly and hosts a variety of events. Oxi Day celebrates the Greek Prime Minister, Ioannis Metaxas, refusing an ultimatum by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on Oct. 28, 1940, during World War II.

Benito Mussolini demanded that Metaxas allow the Italian army to have free passage to enter and occupy parts of Greece they needed. Mexatas then delivered a speech in French that translated to, “Then, it is war.” This phrase was changed to the shorter “Oxi,” which is Greek for “no.”

“It is important to celebrate because this is a national holiday that does not get as much recognition,” said the resident of the Hellenic Society Stella Bayiokos, FCRH ’23. “We figured having an event would be good to promote our club and culture while benefiting the Fordham community.”

Demetrios Skoumbakis, GSB ’23, who attended the event, said the club is a way to connect with other people. “I always want to meet Greek people as I feel more like home this way. The club, it’s something that I didn’t have at my old school and that’s the reason I am trying to attend every event,” said Skoumbakis.

Bayiokos hopes that people realize that the club is “open to everyone and you do not have to [be] Greek.” At the event, they learned about the history of Oxi Day, socialized and ate Greek food. There were gyros, rice, Greek dips and pita bread catered from Gyro World in Astoria.

This was the second annual celebration of Oxi Day for the club, which hosted a similar event last year. In addition to Oxi Day, the club brings a food truck in the spring, and there is Greek Night, where members, friends and alumni come together.

Maria Skevas, FCRH ’24, joined the Hellenic Society to connect with her culture. “I joined Hellenic Society to engage with a group that shares my culture, traditions and interests,” said Skevas. “As a Greek-American, the club bridges two major parts of my identity. I am so glad to have found a community that I truly feel a part of at Fordham through the Hellenic Society.” The Hellenic Society has biweekly meetings with different themes, such as bingo and group painting. They are also involved in other parts of the Fordham community, with  intramural soccer, flag football and volleyball teams.

The Hellenic Society will also take part in a  Greek dance team that begins in November.
The club is involved with the surrounding New York community and collaborates with other Hellenic Societies. “We do a lot of stuff,” said Bayiokos, “but it is mostly centered on social and cultural [aspects] combined.”