Celebrating in King Otto’s Greece

The Economics of Dynastic, National, and Religious Public Ceremonies during the Ottonian Monarchy (1832–1862)


  • Panayotis Kimourtzis Full Professor - University of the Aegean/Greece
  • Anna Mandilara University of Ioannina




Greece, Ottonian Monarchy, State symbolism, State holidays, State protocol, Festival economics, Nineteenth century


The heavy-handed regime of King Otto of Bavaria introduced the ritual of national celebrations in Greece in 1833. The monarchy instituted annual celebrations for occasions such as the apovatíria—the anniversary of Otto’s landing in Nafplio—and also organized festivities for some of the king’s other public appearances (departures, arrivals, inauguration of various institutions). The festivities were primarily based on the traditions of European royal courts and secondarily on the protocol of the Orthodox Church. The monarchy and its concomitant institutions, the church (with its religious ceremonies) and the army (with its hierarchy), offered a familiar and safe spectacle with their firmly established rites such as parades, processions, hymns, and chants. Given the scanty financial resources of the Greek state during Otto’s reign, sponsoring such celebrations required a delicate balance. Focusing on the example of the anniversary of the Greek War of Independence on March 25, 1838, this article emphasizes the regime’s effort to stage said celebrations in a manner befitting both the significance of each event and the king’s grandeur without provoking public sentiment with the high cost of the celebrations or with events that were unfamiliar to the inhabitants of the Greek capital, Athens.

Author Biographies

Panayotis Kimourtzis, Full Professor - University of the Aegean/Greece

Panayotis G. Kimourtzis is professor of educational policy and history at the University of the Aegean, Greece, where he also directs the Historical Archives and the Cine-Science Seminar. He holds appointments as maître de conferences at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociale–Paris and honorary senior research associate at the Institute of Education–University College London (UCL). He has been president of the Greek Society of Education Historians since 2016 and was recently named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French Ministry of Education.

Anna Mandilara, University of Ioannina

Anna Mandilara is assistant professor of contemporary Greek history at the University of Ioannina, Greece. She holds a diploma in economics from the University of Athens, a master’s degree in economic history from the Fondazione Einaudi in Turin, and a doctorate in history and civilization from the European University Institute. Her publications include the “Their Travel”: The Multiple Identities of the Diaspora. Greeks in Nineteenth-Century Marseille (in Greek, 2015) and The Double Life of Economic History: Topics in European Historiography (in Greek, 2008) as well as two edited volumes: Philhellenism: Interest in Greek Culture from 1821 to the Present Day, with George Nikolaou, Nikos Anastasopoulos, and Lambros Flitouris (in Greek, 2014) and Filiki Etaireia: Revolutionary Action and Secret Societies in Contemporary Europe, with George Nikolaou (in Greek, 2017). Her coauthored book with Panayotis Kimourtizis, Public Festivals and National Ceremonies during the Ottonian Monarchy is forthcoming from Gutenberg Publications in Athens.




How to Cite

Kimourtzis, Panayotis, and Anna Mandilara. 2023. “Celebrating in King Otto’s Greece: The Economics of Dynastic, National, and Religious Public Ceremonies During the Ottonian Monarchy (1832–1862)”. Journal of Festive Studies 4 (1):144-64. https://doi.org/10.33823/jfs.2022.4.1.73.