'Clean Monday'

Clean Monday'Kathera Deftera', is an annual public holiday in Greece and Cyprus, which celebrates the first day of the 40-day period of the Great Lent, or 'Sarakosti', before the Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday.  Following the festive Carnival season of feasting, Clean Monday is celebrated with outdoor family excursions and the consumption of fasting foods.  The eating of meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout the Great Lent, however, the consumption of seafood is permitted, like shellfish, mollusks, cuttlefish, octopus, squid, shrimps and mussels, with fish being eaten only on major feast days during the Lent.  Taramosalata is also very popular, ideal for spreading on 'lagana', a special kind of unleavened flatbread which is baked only on Clean Monday.

The widespread custom of building and flying kites on Clean Monday is directly linked to the spiritual state of mind of Orthodox Christians, as it symbolises the passing of the human soul to Heaven and God.  The first kites that were spotted in Greece in the post-modern era came from the East, specifically the islands of Chios and Samos, making their way to the city of Patras, then becoming common all around the country.  Last week the Greek Government announced that parks in cities will remain open on Clean Monday, amid the pandemic, to allow families to fly their kites in a safe mannor.  The weather in Ermioni on Clean Monday was ideal, sunny, bright and windy enough for many families to go out and enjoy flying their colourful kites around the port and surrounding areas of the coastal town.