Written by Scarlett Murray,
6th March 2023

Let’s go fly a kite in Greece! Clean Monday marks the start of Lent in Greece. Following the festivities of carnival, it is a family celebration of kite-flying and fasting food. After years of hiatus due to the pandemic, this year’s Clean Monday was in full swing.    

kite and fasting food

All you need for Clean Monday!

Last week, on February 27th, Greece celebrated Clean Monday. Clean Monday, also known as Ash Monday, Pure Monday, or Monday of Lent, this many-named celebration is the first day of the Eastern Orthodox Christian and Eastern Catholic Lent. It is a movable feast that takes place on the seventh week before Orthodox Sunday. More than simply eating pancakes on a Tuesday evening, Clean Monday is a national holiday in Greece, and is marked by kite-flying and delicious meat-free food.

Find homes in Greece via our property portal.

Why is it called Clean Monday?

carinval float of a strange-looking man with a hat.

Patras carnival!

Before Lent, Greece has an extravagant carnival called Apokries, where masquerading, drinking, dancing, and larger-than-life floats take up the streets. The city of Patras, western Greece, boasts of the most extensive and beloved carnival in the country – in Europe, even. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Patras’s carnival had been on hold for three years, but this year, it returned to the whooping praise of partygoers. It included 139 themed chariots and fireworks.

This year, hotel occupancy hit 100% on the weekend before Clean Monday. Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias praised this welcome boost to tourism.

The final Sunday of carinval, Tyrofagou, is the last day that they can eat meat and dairy.

So, Clean Monday marks a transition away from the indulgence of carnival. It is a time to leave behind sinful habits and to purify the body and soul.

Traditions of Clean Monday


child with a big kite

Let’s go fly a kite!

All over Greece, people celebrate the national holiday by going out on picnics and flying kites. Flying kites represent the lifting of sins from the body. The holiday also marks the start of spring in Greece. Kites are often handmade, with grandparents and parents helping their children craft them before the big day. In Athens, many go to Filopapou Hill, near the Acropolis, standing shoulder-to-shoulder as their kites dance in the wind.



Lagana, the bread of Clean Monday.

On Clean Monday, no one eats meat or dairy – so this is a fantastic opportunity to have a taste of Greek vegetarian cuisine. Some people also chose to abstain from fish, wine, and oil. A staple of the day is Lagana bread which is traditionally eaten on Clean Monday alone. It used to be made unleavened but now it is quite common to find leavened versions too. Lagana is a flat bread, formed in the shape of an oval, and topped with sesame seeds. It is most common to focaccia. This year, bakers in Thessaloniki said that they would be baking at least 50,000 pieces.   

Taramas or Taramasalata often features alongside it. Fasolada also features at a Clean Monday picnic. It is a simple soup of white beans and vegetables; it is typically accompanied by sardines. For dessert, the Greeks eat halvas, but use tahini to avoid the use of olive oil and butter.

Download the Greece Buying Guide today

The Greece Buying Guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process.The guide will help you to:

  Ask the right questions
  Avoid losing money
  Avoid the legal pitfalls
  Move in successfully

  • We handle your data with care and only ever as outlined in our Privacy Policy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Pin It on Pinterest