Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday) is the first day of Great Lent in the Greek Orthodox Church. Today also brings preceding Carnival celebrations to an end, inviting everyone to leave behind the ‘sinful’ attitudes associated with Carnival festivities and non-fasting foods, which were largely consumed during the last three weeks of the Carnival.
It is a national holiday across Greece today and special events and activities take place in all towns and villages, which feature plenty of music, dancing and delicious vegetarian food, marking the start of this special Greek Orthodox period of fasting and contemplation.
Saracosti, which is the great period of Lent before the Orthodox Easter takes its name from Tessaracoste, which comes from the word forty, which is the forty day period until Palm Sunday and then one more week until Easter day makes a total of 49 days of “fasting”. During this period we fast so that our bodies and spirits are “cleansed” to prepare for accepting the Resurrection.
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