The Saint Demetrios Greek Festival is known by Seattle Greeks and non-Greeks alike as a beautiful, vibrant celebration of traditional and modern Hellenic culture.
The enticing perfumes of spanakopita, souvlaki, and loukoumades are appreciated by all, even those who cannot pronounce their names. The live music brings everyone to their feet, as Mediterranean music is known for its joyous mood and danceable rhythm. Located at St. Demetrios Orthodox Church, this accessible and fun cultural celebration has been put on since 1960, with outstanding impact on the Greek community in Seattle.
For people like Hale freshman Athena Agosino, the festival provides a means of creating and maintaining tradition and family.
“My mom, she’s Greek, but she was adopted into an American family,” Agosino said, “When she went to the Greek festival, it made her feel closer to her heritage, like she had a missing piece of herself found.”
Agosino, like many, has gone to the festival ever since she was little, embracing her heritage and traditions like her mother did. The festival provides a sense of community for young adults, like Agosino, and older generations who miss their home country.
Every year, YiaYias and Papous flock to the festival to purchase Greek foods unavailable elsewhere (my own YiaYia always gives me a shopping list), and to listen to songs they’ve known the words to since childhood.
All of them describe the celebration the same way, “It gives life.”
Watching them beam as children perform traditional Greek folk dances makes that sentiment clear. “It gives life” to partake in a culture–to discover a new side of you as Agosino’s mom did.
Agosino summed it up perfectly, “It’s something worth celebrating.”