Clean Monday marks the start of the Lenten period for Orthodox Christians. It is a moveable celebration that always occurs at the beginning of the 7th week before Easter Sunday, symbolising purity as on that day we start ‘cleansing’ our bodies and souls from all impurities, hence the name! In fact, during the week leading up to Clean Monday we gradually enter this purifying process by slowly cutting down on fatty foods. The last Thursday before Clean Monday; known as ‘Tsiknopempti’, is the last day we are supposed to eat meat (hence the meat feast!) and Sunday; ‘Tyrofagos’, is the last day we should eat cheese.
So what does one eat on Clean Monday? Some typical dishes that cannot be missing from the table are cod roe dip ‘taramosalata’, olives, gigantes, ‘fava’ (yellow split pea puree), sea food and of course ‘semolina halva’.
Also this weekend at Isle of Olive you will be able to find lenten spinach pie, stuffed vine leaves with rice and herbs, ‘gemista’ stuffed tomatoes and green peppers with rice and herbs, fava and semolina halva.
Oh yes, last but not least, the drink of the day… ouzo of course! 😀
Did I mention that on that day in Greece we also enjoy to fly kites? Well, yes we do! Another fun custom! So, if on Monday it’s sunny and not freezing cold as it has been the last few days here in London… you may catch us having a kite flying competition in the London Fields park!