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Happy Clean Monday!
February ends with the culmination of the festive period of ‘Triodion’ and the ‘Apokries’ carnival in Greece, that precedes Lent and Easter. The Greek holiday of ‘Kathara Deftera’ (Ash or Clean Monday), which falls this year on the March 15th, marks the beginning of ‘Sarakosti’ – the 40 days period of Great Lent in preparation for the Orthodox Easter – and it is widely celebrated throughout the country with traditional customs, folklore and meat-free picnic feasts, known as ‘koulouma’.
For most Greeks, celebrating Clean Monday means going outdoors to the hillside or by the sea in order to participate in celebrations, enjoy their fasting picnic and fly their kites. Meat consumption during Lent is not allowed, however some of the most delicious Greek recipes are part of the Lent menu. Traditional dishes for the day include ‘taramosalata’ (the Greek caviar), stewed octopus and seafood delicacies, ‘dolmadakia’ (vine leaves stuffed with rice), pickled veggies and ‘mavromatika’ (black-eyed pea salad), ‘lagana’ (the traditional bread for the day) etc.
Source: Embassy of Greece, Washington D.C.