“Clean Monday” (“Kathari Deytera” in Greek), is the the beginning of the great Lent of the Greek Orthodox Easter also known as Pure Monday, Ash Monday, Shrove Monday or Koulouma. The common term for this day, “Clean Monday”, refers to the leaving behind of sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods.
It is a movable feast that occurs at the beginning of the 7th week before Orthodox Easter Sunday.
Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece, where it is celebrated with outdoor excursions, the consumption of shellfish and other fasting foods such as crabs, mussels, cuttlefish, pickles ,fish roe, olives, halva which is a sweet made with sesame oil, and a special kind of azyme bread, baked only on this day, named “lagana” and the widespread custom of flying kites. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally avoided by the majority of the Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days, but shellfish and vegetables are part of the main diet.
People on Clean Monday usually take their picnic baskets and put inside fasting foods because it is the day that Lent begins and also take with them their kites.This year though it was cold and wet but that did not stop people from going to the market to buy all fasting goodies. Yiannis from Athens Walking Tours, came to the main food market of an area in Athens called “Nea Ionia” and made this short video to transfer you to the clean Monday atmosphere.