Kathari Deftera, Καθαρή Δευτέρα, known in English as Clean Monday, is similar to Western Christianity’s Ash Wednesday. It marks the beginning of the forty-day period of fasting for the Great Lent that leads up to Easter. Clean Monday falls on the first day of the seventh week before the Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday.
How is Clean Monday Celebrated in Greece
Kathari Deftera is a public holiday in Greece. The night before Clean Monday, churches hold a service where everyone asks for forgiveness so that they can begin Lent with a clear conscience. The evening is celebrated with the consumption of shellfish and other fasting foods, as meat, eggs, and dairy products are forbidden by the Orthodox church to be consumed during Lent.
Some will celebrate the day strictly restricting the foods and starting a 3 day fast at the beginning of Lent. It is a time to cleanse inside and out. Spring cleaning the house is a commonly associated with this day.
In Greece, this day marks the beginning of the spring season and is celebrated through outdoor excursions, especially flying of kites. Kite flying has been a long-time tradition with the making of traditional wooden kites a craft creating the perfect kites for adults and children. It is a happy springtime celebration where cleansing and starting new is in the air.