“Kathari Deftera,” Clean Monday in Greek, is considered to be one of the most important feasts all over Greece, each year commencing the 40-day period of the Great Lent for the Eastern Greek Orthodox Church, which is called “Sarakosti.” Sometimes it is called “Ash Monday,” the day during which Lent for the Western Christianity begins.
In this way, the faithful begin the Great Lent with a clean conscience, forgiveness and renewed Christian love. Even people who are not that religious, the period of Lent they avoid eating meat to clean and purify their body!!Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days.
Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece, is celebrated with outdoor excursions and the consumption of fasting foods such as: shellfish, octopus, taramosalata, “lagana,” (a special kind of unleavened flatbread, baked only on that day) and a sweet called xalvas which is made of tahini, a sesame paste, and sugar. Traditionally, as Clean Monday is considered to mark the beginning of the spring season, kite flying is also part of the tradition.