National Greek Feast "Clean Monday"
Clean Monday (Greek: Kathara Deytera), also known as Pure Monday, Ash Monday, Monday of Lent or Green Monday, is a moveable feast, falling on the 7th Monday before Easter (Pascha).
Clean Monday, 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.”
During “Sarakosti”, eating meat, and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days.
In Greece, “Clean Monday” is celebrated with outdoor excursions, delicious fast foods, as well as the widespread custom of flying kites.
From above, the most favourite and common tradition of Clean Monday in Greece, of course, involves food! Although what is served on Clean Monday does depend on a family's or individual's favourites, below are some of the most popular traditional delights included at a Greek table on Clean Monday:
Taramosalata - Tarama (cod or carp roe) - sometimes called 'the common man's caviar', is one of the tastiest and most famous of all Greek dips. It's made of the salted and cured roe of the cod, carp, or grey mullet mixed with olive oil, lemon juice, and a starchy base of bread or potatoes, or sometimes almonds.
Octopus, Shrimp, Kalamari - seafood is a traditional dish on Clean Monday!
Halva - eaten as a dessert, there are various methods of making halva, the most common is made with tahini, sesame paste, and sugar, often combined with nuts or chocolate and baked in a square.
Wine or tsipouro - it's considered as a tradition in Greece that a complete celebrating meal should contain a taste of alcohol.
Lagana - it's a specific kind of bread, bakeries produce and sale it mainly on "Clean Monday".
"Clean Monday" is celebrated differently in many regions in Greece. Almost each greek island has its own traditions which attract tourists before the official beginning of summer season in Greece.
In Crete, one of the biggest islands in Greece, celebrate "Clean Monday" with the tradition "Steal the Bride", which is combined with plenty of wine and traditionally cretan sounds.
One the other hand, in Mykonos are enacted some moments from the years when the island was under Turkish slavery.