On Monday, March the 14th, we are entering the Great Lent period.
Traditionally, this day is considered to mark the end of the carnival and the beginning of the spring season.
In Greece it is called «Clean Monday» because women used to clean their cooking vessels after the carnival period.
Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece, where it is celebrated with outdoor excursions, the consumption of a traditional Lent meal of pickled vegetables, dips, dishes based on seafood allowed during Lent (shellfish, molluscs, octopus, squid, mussels, shrimps), a special kind of azyme bread, baked only on that day, called “lagana” and the widespread custom of flying kites.
Kites used to be handmade by each family (now you can easily buy one all over town) and colorful, and if the weather is appropriate you will see Greece’ sky full of them!
The Great Lent is a 48 days period of fasting, as many as Jesus was fasting in the desert. It is the lengthier period than all other such periods (for Christmas fasting lasts for 40 days, as well as for the Annunciation of the Virgin, on August the 15th.)
There are many traditions kept during these days in Greece and vary from place to place based on the local character.