Clean Monday follows immediately after the Carnival Sunday (Apokries) and therefore the date changes each year, depending on when Greek Orthodox Pascha (Easter) falls. This is the first day of Lent and the start of the fasting period, when traditional Lenten food is especially prepared and eaten even by those who don't observe the rest of Lent.
Clean Monday (Καθαρά Δευτέρα - Katheri Dheftéra)
Text by Kelsey Edwards Copyright HydraDirect 2015
Photos Copyright: Lucy Paraskeva 2014
Many Greeks observe the period of Lent before Pascha even if they don't necessarily practice the other periods of abstinence during the rest of the year. Strictly speaking, during the seven weeks of Lent no meat or fish (that is, fish with backbones) should be eaten. Also no animal products such as milk, cheese, butter and eggs. Oil and wine should be omitted too, except on a Saturday and Sunday.
Even those who do not observe Lent will eat only Lenten food that is prepared especially for Clean Monday. 'Lagana', is a type of flat bread traditionally served on this day along with cuttlefish and kalamari (squid), taramasolata (fish roe), ‘horta’ (wild greens) and Scorda (garlic paste).
In Hydra, everyone meets up at favourite tavernas for lunch followed by traditional kite flying. The cliffs above Vlichos are one of the places where you can get the best views of the sky filled with kites which sadly number more commercially bought ones these days rather than the magnificent home-made hexagonal kites that families used to make together.