The beginning of the Lenten period, known as Green Monday in Cyprus, falls on the first Monday of Lent each year. This year, it takes place on March 18. The day marks the beginning of the religious season. Christians in Cyprus and Greece celebrate the day by eating special fasting food, visiting the countryside, and flying kites. It is a day that beckons Christians to start the season with a clean heart that harbors no malice against anyone. The day is celebrated with picnics, prayers, and fasting as a beginning of the auspicious period of Lent.
History of Cyprus Green Monday
According to the Orthodox Church, the end of Carnival marks the beginning of the religious season of Lent. Green Monday in Cyprus signals the beginning of the Lent period. In Greece, the day is called Clean Monday. The holiday starts the countdown for Easter Sunday, which is celebrated precisely 40 days after the Day. According to Christian mythology, Jesus fasted for 40 days in a desert, which led to the observance of the tradition of fasting during Lent.
Christians begin their fasts from Green Monday. It is widely believed that Christians should step into the holy season with purity in their hearts, and honesty in their intentions. Cyprus Green Monday kicks off the pious season of Lent by beckoning Christians to purify their souls, hearts, and minds by sacrificing their desires for food. Accordingly, on Cyprus Green Monday, Christians are supposed to fast from midnight to noon apart from abstaining from wine, meat, eggs, and dairy products.
Devout Christians also dedicate a significant part of the day to reading the Bible. Traditional food eaten on Cyprus Green Monday includes olives, octopus, and shrimp. A unique type of unleavened bread called ‘lagana’ is prepared and baked only on Clean Monday. The bread has an ancient history, dating back to the Old Testament. According to religious belief, it featured God’s help to the Israeli people when He guided them from Egypt to their promised land. Since the day also heralds the advent of spring, people in Cyprus and Greece take off for family outings, picnics, and camps to the countryside, where they avidly fly kites.
Cyprus Green Monday timeline
The fasting period of Lent becomes widespread among Christians — most partake in a full day of fast.
Lent fasting is modified by permitting a break in the fast by the afternoon.
It seems a divine machination when Green Monday occurs immediately after a weekend where terrorist attacks rock Turkey and Ivory Coast as if reminding the world of Christ's teachings of non-violence.
Cyprus Green Monday becomes the sad backdrop of the demise of the great Icelandic Pianist Jórunn Viðar.
Cyprus Green Monday FAQs
When is Green Monday?
The holiday is moveable and falls on the first Monday of the Lent festival — 40 days before Easter Sunday.
Why is Green Monday celebrated?
Cyprus Green Monday is celebrated on the first day of Lent to mark the beginning of the holy period.
Why do people fly kites on Green Monday?
Traditionally, Clean Monday heralds the advent of spring, where kite flying is part of the tradition. Since it is a holiday and the beginning of the kite flying season, kids and grown-ups enjoy flying kites.
How to Observe Cyprus Green Monday
Flying kites on Green Monday is an ancient tradition. Move up to the top of your apartment or go to open ground with friends to fly kites. Watch the colorful kites soar high in the sky.
Camp in the countryside
Visit the countryside with friends and family and take vegetables and fish along for lunch. While Green Monday purifies your soul, the countryside's pure air will purify your lungs.
Create Lady Lent
Greek children have fun creating ‘Kyra Sarakosti’, also known as ‘Lady Lent’. Made out of dough or cardboard, she's bereft of a mouth and ears. The children cut each of her seven legs every week until Easter. Have fun creating Lady Lent with your children!
5 Interesting Facts About Christan Traditional Foods
This is a particular type of unleavened bread with fillings baked only on this day.
Boiled or cooked in the oven with honey, nuts, and other added ingredients.
An octopus prepared in white sauce.
A famous delicacy made with olive or sunflower oil and fish roe.
A simple dish with rice and mussels.
Why Cyprus Green Monday is Important
We get to eat delicious food
Who doesn't love eating the yummy octopus and shrimp recipes with the semolina pudding and halva for dessert? These traditional foods are generally reserved by Greeks and Cypriots only for the fasting period.
A holy occasion
The day is steeped in holiness with fasts and midnight congregations at the church. Everybody who attends is filled with devotion for Christ. The atmosphere inspires you to read the Bible to your children, who always enjoy a good story.
Kids love it!
Apart from bedtime stories, kids also get to fly kites, create Lady Lent, and go camping. They are happy as punch!
Cyprus Green Monday dates