Green Monday in Cyprus. Meaning and traditions

green monday larnaca finikoudes

On Green Monday prepare your kites, forget about meat and get ready to enjoy a lot of salads and fasting food. The good part is that all of this is going to happen out. By the sea, on the hills, everywhere, you can think of it as long as it is outside.

What is Green Monday or Kathara Deftera

Green Monday, also known as “Clean Monday,” or Kathara Deftera is a public holiday in Cyprus, marking the beginning of Lent in the Eastern Orthodox Christian calendar.

It falls on the seventh Monday before Easter Sunday. On this day, people traditionally enjoy outdoor picnics, fly kites, and eat a variety of vegetarian dishes, as fasting from meat and dairy products begins for Orthodox Christians during Lent.

🚩 Check other Bank Holidays in Cyprus 👉 Bank holidays in 2024. Seven long weekends to enjoy

What people eat on Green Monday?

Potatoes and onion salad, seafood, olives, lots of olives, beans, tarama, taxini, houmus. That being said, expect to find barbecues with octopus and other seafood that is popular anyway here on the island.

The traditional bread for today is Lagana, a dairy-free flat bread.

green monday lagana

The traditional dessert for this day is Halva: a sweet with no eggs, no dairy and no oil. Halva is made of sesame or semolina paste mixed with sugar syrup or honey.

green monday kites

Why Cypriots fly kites?

And since everybody is outside, why not fly some kites? But where is this coming from?

Flying kites on Green Monday in Cyprus is a long-standing tradition that dates back to ancient times.

And here are a few reasons behind this tradition:

🚩 Flying kites symbolizes the arrival of spring and the renewal of nature. It’s a way for people to celebrate the changing of seasons and the beginning of a new cycle of life.

🚩 Also, Green Monday marks the beginning of Lent in the Eastern Orthodox Christian calendar. Flying kites is seen as a way to symbolically cast away sins and start the period of fasting with a clear conscience.

🚩 And not least, it’s a tradition that brings families and communities together. People gather outdoors to fly kites, enjoy picnics, and socialize.

In the end, it’s all about having fun, no matter the age of the person that holds the kite!


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