A Day to Lookup
Easter is the most celebrated event of the year in Cyprus, even more so than Christmas. There are many traditions involved in Easter celebrations, starting with Green Monday. This year, 2023, Green Monday lands on 27th February.
‘Green Monday’ or ‘Clean Monday’ is a national public holiday and is the day that officially marks the start of Lent. As the first day of fasting for Lent (a 40 day period), it is tradition to feast on veggies and other fasting foods (including lagana bread). It is a day to be outdoors and the best part is the tradition of flying kites, so on Green Monday we recommend you…look up!
Here come some facts:
Green Monday (also known as Clean Monday, Pure Monday, Ash Monday or Monday of Lent) is a public holiday in Greece and Cyprus, where it is celebrated with outdoor excursions, the consumption of shellfish and other fasting food, a special kind of azyme bread, baked only on that day, named “lagana” (Greek: λαγάνα) and the widespread custom of flying kites. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days, but shellfish is permitted in European denominations. This has created the tradition of eating elaborate dishes based on seafood (shellfish, molluscs, fish roe etc.). Traditionally, it is considered to mark the beginning of the spring season, that denotes the start of Lent.
The common term for this day, “Clean Monday”, refers to the leaving behind of sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods. Clean Monday—and thus Lent itself—begins on the preceding (Sunday) night, at a special service called Forgiveness Vespers, which culminates with the Ceremony of Mutual Forgiveness, at which all present will bow down before one another and ask forgiveness. In this way, the faithful begin Lent with a clean conscience, with forgiveness, and with renewed Christian love. The entire first week of Great Lent is often referred to as “Clean Week”, and it is customary to go to Confession during this week, and to clean the house thoroughly.
During Green Monday flying a kite is the main past time. Families and groups of friends descend onto the beaches. Laden with picnics and, of course, their best kites ready to take part in the local kite festival.
Did you know? The ‘fasting’ calendar of the orthodox church is 48 days before Easter, 40 days before Christmas & lesser fasting periods throughout the year – in total, half the year is taken up by fasting.
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