March, 2007




21-80 Crescent St., Astoria, NY 11105
Phone: (718) 956-3544, Fax: (718) 726-3554

                  GAFS NEWSLETTER


«So the well educated man will be able both to sing and dance well                                                 ~Plato

                Gafs History

The Greek-American Folklore Society is dedicated to the study, preservation and instruction of the history and traditions of Hellenic folk culture.

GAFS was founded in 1983 by Apostolos "Paul" Ginis as a non-profit organization. After his death, Paul’s achievements and dreams were left in the hands of his sister, Vaia Allagianis. To this day, she continues, GAFS and lives on her brother’s dream.

Greek Independence Day

The celebration of Greek Independence (March 25th) is largely inspired by the Annunciation of the Theotokos, one of the major holidays celebrated by Greek Orthodox Christians. On this day, the


Archangel Gabriel stated to Mary that she would bring a child into this world. 

After many centuries of a failure by the Ottoman Empire to integrate and convert the Greeks, the War of Independence began in 1821, resulting from 400 years of occupation by the Ottoman Turks. The Turkish occupation began in 1453, resulting from the fall of Constantinople. During the many years of the Turkish occupation many Greeks were tortured and killed, attending church and, teaching history, literature and language. The Greek Orthodox Church instituted Hidden Schools (KRUFA SCOLEIA).

In 1814, Greek nationalists formed the FILIKH ETAIRIA, Friendly Society in Odessa. This group was supported by wealthy Greek exile communities in Britain and the United States. The society sought to revive the Byzantine Empire, making Constantinople its capital. John Capodistria, the foreign minister of Russia, led the revolt. Among the heroes that fought for Greek Independence are Kolokotronis, Nikitara, Karaiskakis, Bouboulina, and Mpotsaris.

Along with the FILIKH ETAIRIA, other groups struggled for independence. One such was “O IEROS LOCWS,” the Sacred Band. Prominent figures in the world also fought for the independence of Greece. Rigas Feraios was arrested by Austrian officials and then transferred to the Ottoman Turks. Here, he met his death, where he was strangled to death and his bodies, along with the bodies of many others were discarded in the Danube River in 1789.  Other prominent figures worldwide that supported the struggle for independence included Lord Byron of England, Daniel Webster and Dr. Samuel Gridly Howe of the United States raised the interest level among Europeans and Americans.

On March 25, 1821, Palaion Patron Germanos (PALAIWN PATRWN GERMANOS), an Orthodox Metropolitan of Patra blessed the church banner bearing the image of the Theotokos (the mother of God) at the Monastery of Agia Lavra who proclaimed the national uprising. 

-Monastery Agia Lavra, Peloponnese, 1821. "Germanos blessing the flag". Theodoros Vryzakis, 1865.

Upcoming GAFS Performances in March

“The United Federation of Teachers” Thursday, March 15th, 2007 at 5:00 p.m.- The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) has invited the Greek American Folklore Society to perform at their Annual Greek Independence Day celebration.


“European Folk Festival” Sunday, March 18, 2007 at 2:30 p.m.- The Slavic Heritage Council of America, Inc. presents the European Folk Festival. It will feature various ethnic groups, including but not limited to the Bulgarian Folk Dance Group, the Croatian Dance Group, Macedonian Folk Dance Ensemble and our very own, Greek American Folklore Society. The Event will be held at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) located on 7th Avenue/ 27th Street, New York City. Tickets in advance are $25. Tickets for children, senior citizens and students are $20.


“Steinway Library” Thursday, March 22nd, 2007 at 6:00 p.m.- The Steinway Library is hosting a Greek Independence Day Celebration at which the Greek American Folklore Society will showcase traditional dances.  Admission is Free and all are welcome to attend.  The Steinway Library is located on Broadway and Steinway Street.


“Commerce Bank” Sunday, March 25th, 2007 at 1:00 p.m.-Commerce Bank has invited the Greek American Folklore Society to take part in a tribute to the Greek Independence Day.


“The Cretan House” Sunday, March 25th, 2007 at 6:00 p.m.- The Greek American Folklore Society will be part of a Greek Independence Day Celebration to be hosted at the Cretan House.  All are welcome and admission is Free.


Current Events


The Greek Cultural Center located on 27-18 Hoyt Avenue South, Astoria, New York is hosting a children’s theatre workshop that is to begin March 3rd, 2007, and end in June of 2007.  The classes will be held on Saturday’s from 1-3 p.m., and tuition is monthly.


The Greek Cultural Center is presenting the play Deka Mikroi Indianoi, directed by Evangelos Alexiou.  Performances will run through March 18th, 2007 on Friday’s and Saturday’s at 8 p.m., and Sunday’s at 7 p.m.  For more information call 718-726-7329.


On Saturday, March 24th, 2007 a tribute documentary to Greek culture featuring the Greek American Folklore Society, will be aired in Channel 75 Time Warner Cable.  The documentary was filmed by one of our members Despina Theodorescu We congratulate her on this achievement, and we hope this is the first of many!


The Onassis Center is currently hosting an exhibition entitled AthensSparta.” This new exhibition brings rare artifacts to the United States for the first time, such as a marble statue of “Leonidas” from the end of the 5th century B.C.  The exhibition is being held till May 12th, 2007 (Admission is Free).  The Onassis Center is located in the Olympic Tower in Manhattan, on Fifth Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets.  The art gallery is open Monday thru Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.


Aktina FM presents Kostas Makedonas live in concert, A Tribute to George Zabetas.  The concert will take place on Friday, May 18th, 2007 at 9:00 p.m. at Town Hall located on 123 West 43rd street between 6th and 7th Avenue, New York City.  For tickets and more information call Aktina FM 718-545-1151 of Ticketmaster 212-307-4100.




On Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 Elections were held at the Greek American Folklore Society.  A special thanks to all the former board member! It was a pleasure having you! Best of luck to the new board members.  

The new board members are as follows:


President:                  Anastasia Tsantes

Vice President:         Matina Karagiannis

Secretaries:                Maria Allagianis &                                      Despina Hotzoglou

Treasurer:                  Vaia Allagianis

Asst. Treasurer:        Effie Parthenis

Advisory Board

Dora Themelis

Maria Stavrakis

Peter Kowalski

Maria Mezaris

Georgia Papagianis

Bobby Petsiavas

Jim Tashi



Despina Hotzoglou

Maria Stavrakis




The Annual Greek Independence Day Parade will take place on Sunday, April 15th 2007. As always the Greek American Folklore Society will be taking part in the parade and will be performing before and after. More details and information will follow.  We hope to see you there!


Special Thanks

We would like to extend our gratitude to all those who contributed to our Journal for our Annual Dance which was held on Saturday, November 18th, 2006.  Your contributions greatly help us keep Greek culture alive, and once again we would like to thank you.


Class Schedule


Beginner’s Group: Tuesday’s 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.


Performing Group: Wednesday’s 7:30p.m.10:00 p.m.


Children’s Group: Saturday’s 2:30p.m.3:30p.m. 

      &  3:30 p.m.4:30p.m.



Adults:           Memberships are a one-time $50 fee

$40 per month

                        $12 per lesson

Children:         Memberships area one-time $40 fee

                         $25 per month




GAFS is a non-profit organization surviving on its members; your help is always appreciated!  Any donation is greatly appreciated, and all are tax deductible.


We want your contributions! If you have any stories, comments or opinions you would like to share, please email us!



21-80 Crescent St., Astoria, NY 11105

Phone: (718) 956-3544, Fax: (718) 726-3554

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