Mount Laurel Township Hosts Its Third Annual Greek Independence Day Celebration

MOUNT LAUREL, NJ – Speaking, singing, flag raising and eating filled the Mount Laurel Community Center on Saturday as the municipality hosted its Third Annual Greek Independence Day.

Greek Independence Day commemorates the country declaring its independence from the Ottoman Empire, noted Mount Laurel Township Deputy Mayor Nikitas Moustakas, a first-generation immigrant from Greece.

Speakers reminded the roughly 50 attendees of the Mount Laurel event – some of whom were dressed in Greece’s national colors of blue and white – that although the commemoration notes a Greek event, everyone, regardless of lineage, can find various meanings from it.

“For so many of us whose lineage and history are born out of the struggle for independence, it is a shared day for all of us,” said State Senator Troy Singleton. “It does not just signify one person's culture because all of us understand the symbolism of rising up against tyranny and moving forward, to have your own destiny be determined.”

Moustakas noted that many other countries are still fighting for their independence, while Mayor Fozia Janjua pointed out the vast array of occupations members of the Greek community hold.

Added Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, “We celebrate the diversity, we celebrate the cultures that we have, we celebrate our freedoms, we celebrate our independence. We have respect for other people's lives and we also have respect for other people's culture.”

Moustakas, who said he moved to Mount Laurel roughly a decade ago, told TAPinto Mount Laurel he was “extremely” excited that the municipality where he lives commemorates Greek Independence Day.

“To be able to do something like this in my community is just unbelievable,” he said in an interview after the flag-raising and singing of Greece’s national anthem and before joining the others in enjoying spanakopita, gyros, baklava, hummus and Greek salad.

Saturday’s event was the first of several in the region commemorating Greek Independence Day. On April 7, the city of Philadelphia will host a parade, and on April 14, the city of New York will do the same.

Original Article