Clean Monday Festivities in Crete, Greece
“Kali Sarakosti!” Is what you wish to your fellow Greeks on Clean Monday (“kathari deftera”). Clean Monday takes place 40 days before Orthodox Easter and marks the end of Carnival celebrations. It is time to clean your conscious and ask for forgiveness after the “sinful” festivities you took part in – feasting on meats, drinking wine and basically having too much fun 😉
On this day, religious Greeks start the 40 days long Great Lent and not-so-religious ones join for in for the company and delicious food.Since fasting means you have to avoid meat, eggs and dairy products, Clean Monday turns into a gastronomic delight of another sort – shellfish, molluscs & bread. Pescatarian dream come true! The seafood comes with salads, bean dishes, “dolmadakia” and “lagana”, heavenly sesame flatbread, eaten with another Clean Monday must-have – “taramosalata”. This is a salted & cured roe spread with a lemony aroma, the real flavour of Kathari Deftera. As you must have guessed, the feast comes with an endless amount of wine and tsikoudia and it turns into a heck of a lunch!
Apart from the wonderful meal, Greek families gather to fly kites – fun Clean Monday tradition and you may see a fairytale-like parade of kites.
What a beautiful way to welcome spring, don’t you think?