You Can't Disguise Halloween as Oxi Day
October 30, 2006
Whatever happened to Oxi Day? What once ranked in the top three of party days on the Greek-American calendar Ė after Greek Independence Day and New Year's Eve Ė has at least in DC, become a celebration in search of an identity. Unless something changes about how event promoters treat the holiday, Greek-American young adults may just well be saying no to Oxi Day.
Oxi Day, the celebration of Metaxas' negative response to Mussolini's ultimatum of allowing Italian troops to occupy Greece at the start of the Second World War, is a very modern and hopefully relevant celebration as a result. Regardless Greeks and Greek-Americans don't need much of an excuse for a party and, as a result, are somewhat being exploited for this tendency and the associated significance of Oxi Day. Unfortunately Oxi Day falls too close to Halloween, and event promoters lately have been careless in not segregating the two. There are certain places in DC that everyone associates with Halloween and it is guaranteed that on the last weekend of October you'll find more costume clad clubbers than regular clubbers. One is Georgetown and the other is Dupont Circle. (Not convinced? Dupont Circle is the site of an organized foot race of men in drag, or a drag race, if you will, coinciding with Halloween.) So any Greek Night planned for the middle of Dupont Circle needs to compete with Halloween. The result is either a disappointing Greek Night or a confusing Halloween party.
Thereís nothing wrong with a good Halloween Party, as long as everyone is in on it. But when youíre gearing up expecting a Greek Night and walk up to the club and see a line of people in costume, youíre wondering if they got the memo and know what they are walking into. Exactly how do costumes hamper a Greek Night? It is not like Halloween gives an excuse for Greek Night goers to dress more provocatively than usual. A short skirt is a short skirt, and a low-cut top is a low-cut top, no matter whether the desired look is French Maid, Naughty Nurse, or just Greek Girl at Greek Night. While the Halloween crossover may provide some eye candy for the guys, the girls are typically getting the short end of the deal, with overdressed pirates, guys emulating the video game characters of their youth like Super Mario, or rejects from college mascot tryouts, a.k.a. idiots in fuzzy chipmunk costumes. Logistically, costumes present even greater problems for their tendency to include props and other appendages. Itís hard enough walking around in a crowded Dupont Circle dungeon with people pushing others back and forth, without having to worry about crushing a fairy princessí wings, getting smacked by a samurai sword, or poked in the eye by a magic wand. Whatís worse is that costumes donít help one in the classic Greek Night exercise of discerning the Greeks from those who mistakenly walked in. As hard is it is at a Greek Night to tell who is Greek and who isnít, it becomes ten times harder when the Greeks are actually in costume. You never see Greeks actually picking a Greek-themed costume to wear out to signal to other Greeks that they are Greek too. That would be too easy. No, for that, one needs to rely on one of the few Greek songs that come on that donít sound like another song that non-Greeks would recognize, and the associated reaction from the actual Greeks. Good luck.
Itís time to turn back the clock on Oxi Day Greek Nights in DC. Get a live Greek band. Play Greek music from the very start. Have a cover charge that screams this is not another Halloween Party. Find a location in a non-Halloween oriented part of DC or pick a weekend thatís not Halloween. If you feel the need to make it a Halloween party then just call it a Halloween party and not even commandeer the spirit of Oxi Day. Donít take celebrating on Oxi Day for granted and your fellow Greeks wonít either.