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“Kathari Deytera” – Tradition of Lagana, Sea Food and Kites

Kathari Deytera or Clean Monday marks the end of Carnival and the beginning of the Greek Christian Orthodox Lent – the 40 days fasting until Eastern. What is the best way to celebrate the beginning of Lent? With plenty of Food! Ha! And Kites!
Traditionally the tables are covered with plates full with Lenten food ( no food that contains blood!) i.e. all kinds of sea food like crabs, shrimps, octopus, calamari, mussels, fish roe salad, pickles, spring onions, lettuce,  olives, raw greens without oil, stuffed wine leaves and the famous Lagana – a thin, crispy, sesame covered bread eaten once per year – unfortunately. At the end there is a special Lenten dessert, Halva, a sweet made of Tahini (sesame paste) and flavored with Vanilla, Chocolate or Almonds.
    Lagana, Olives, Spring Onions and Halva
 And kites! kites! kites! I don’t exactly why we fly or lift kites on that day, but I read in  that it is a symbol for “purification” – which sounds plausible.
Normally Greeks go out in the nature on clean Monday, having packed their Lenten food and their kites for a great outdoor picnic.  As a icy cold front is on the way and snow is expected even in Athens by tomorrow night, I see many people stay at home, enjoy the day around with the fire place and postpone the kites flying for a sunny day.
If you definitely feel like going out, join the Municipality of Athens at Filipappou Hill, opposite the Acropolis. Athens municipality  traditionally organizes every year an open doors Kathari Deytera festival, from 11:00 pm until 03:00 pm with music and Lagana bread, olives and Halva! 
Video: Kites – give it a try!

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