Let's Go Fly A Kite - On Green Monday!
Monday 15th March was Clean or Green Monday here in Cyprus and, after learning the traditions around Lent in the Greek Orthodox Church, children at EPS made and flew their own kites!
Clean Monday (in Greek known as Kathara deftera), also known as Green Monday, is the first day of lent for the Greek Orthdox - a period which lasts 40 days till Easter.
Green Monday is a public holiday in Cyprus and is celebrated outdoors usually in fields, parks or on beaches.
Fasting foods - vegetables, fruit and a special type of sesame bread "lagana" are eaten along with tahini, taramosalata, olives, hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, artichokes, peppers, beetroots, coriander, cucumbers and, of course, a glass or two of local wine or beer for the adults. Octopus and shellfish may also be eaten. Desert could be semolina pudding which is made in many different ways with honey, nuts, raisins, cinnamon and cloves ( it can either be boiled or cooked in the oven), or daktila which are syrupy, slightly crunchy, finger shaped cookies.
Meat, dairy and eggs are traditionally not eaten on Green Monday nor are they eaten for 40 days of lent. Not everyone follows the Lenten fast but most bakeries, restaurants and fast food takeaways do cater to those who are fasting.
Camping sites, parks or the beach to have their lunch. Some of the people spend all day in nature eating food, playing games like 'milo', flying the kites, socializing with others and relaxing.
Usually the village mayors or city mayors organize some events like dancing and singing traditional songs or playing traditional games and free food for people.
Another tradition on Green Monday is kite flying and, whether store bought or homemade, they are usually brightly decorated, the majority being in the shape of a pentagon. The kites are usually decorated with a favourite football team’s symbol or just different colour mixtures. Also, mayors from cities and villages around Cyprus organize traditional dancing, singing and games along with free food.