Few celebrations are as colorful, fun, and culturally rich as today’s holiday, Kathara Deftera (aka Clean Monday or Ash Monday)!
Marking the beginning of Sarakosti (a fastening period of forty days before Easter) is a movable feast and a national holiday across Greece, that occurs at the beginning of the seventh week before Orthodox Easter Sunday.
As its name suggests, Clean Monday symbolizes purity and cleanliness.
Each part of Greece has its own traditions.
People celebrate with their families and friends with outdoor activities, delicious fasting foods, making and flying kites!
Special events and activities take place in all towns and villages, featuring plenty of music, dressing up in costumes and going to parties and carnival parades, like the ones in Patras or Komotini, dancing and delicious seafood, marking the start of this special Greek Orthodox period of fasting.
A country with such a rich culinary tradition when it comes to Lent dishes, it actually makes the fasting period delicious! Lenten food usually consists of plenty of olives, taramosalata, Halva, vegetables, legumes, and seafood, such as calamari, octopus, shrimps, oysters, cuttlefish, mussels, and lobsters. There is even a special flat bread for the day, called Lagana.
The widespread custom of flying kites, following the Dionysian spree of Apokries, signifies the ascension and purification of the soul. From a Christian point of view, it is symbolic of the human spirit flying into the skies and getting closer to God.
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