What is Oxi Day in Greece? (Ochi Day)

The Greek holiday celebrating the word for "No"

Definition: What does Oxi mean? In Greek, it's the word for "No" but in recent times it has come to symbolize more than that. In World War II, a short telegram from Metaxa to Italian forces gathering along the Albanian border with Greece refused the invading army an easy entry into Greece. While the note said a little more than just "No!", popular sentiment has enshrined the event as "Ochi Day" or "Oxi Day".

For 2015, "Oxi" is one of the options tied to voting in the Greek Referendum on July 5th, 2015. While nothing is quite this simple, most observers believe (along with many Greeks and the ruling Syriza party led by Alexis Tsipiras) that a "No"  or Oxi vote rejects increased austerity and additional suffering for the Greeks, along with accepting a possible exit from the Euro financial union, and a "Yes" or Nai vote means further cuts and greater suffering for the Greeks - but a chance to stay in the Eurozone and to continue on as part of the European Union.

In the end, the vote was "Oxi" or "No" - giving Greece a whole new meaning and a new day that could be called "Ochi Day".

In 2011, with Greece apparently about to accept greater European Union interference and monitoring of their bleak financial situation in exchange for more loans, "Ochi Day" took on a new meaning. Celebrated on October 28th, immediately after the jubilant announcement of the new deal which would permit Greece to continue to pay its creditors, albeit at a half-off discount, Greeks took to the streets in vigorous protests.

And then-Prime Minister George Papandreou, who had just hailed the new agreement enthusiastically, returned to an earlier plan he had suggested and announced to the world that the Greek people would have to vote to approve the new agreement. This sudden outbreak of democracy sent world financial markets tumbling from the highs they had set on the original news.


Pronunciation: The pronunciation of Oxi or Ochi varies. It can be a hard "Ch" sound as in "Loch", or Oh-key. In some regions, it's more likely to be a softer "Oh-shee".

Alternate Spellings: Oxi, Ochi, and Ohi are common transliterations for the Greek word.


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