Carnival is currently monopolizing people’s interest in Cyprus and Greece.
While Carnival events and parades are already in place, the end of Carnival marks the start of the fasting period for Christian Orthodox. Green Monday is the first day of a 50-day fasting period and is a public holiday.
Green Monday or Kathari Deftera (as it called in Greek) is usually celebrated by going out in fields and parks (sometimes at the beach also) and having all-day family feast which includes fasting foods such as shellfish, vegetables and a special, delicious bread called lagana.
Additionally, kite flying is correlated with Green Monday with children enjoying mini competitions among them as to who can fly their kite highest and for the longest time. A view of any town and city in Cyprus will almost certainly be comfortingly embellished by hundreds of kites gently lulling in the sky: a testament to the power and kinship of tradition.
‘Kali Sarakosti’ is the most common wish exchanged by all on this day and Kathari Deftera ends carnival period and milk and dairy eating. Fasting starts and imaginative and delicious vegetarian meals come with it!
The reason for all “celebrations” is quite simple: Easter is just around the corner!