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Yesterday was ‘Clean Monday’ in the Greek Orthodox Religion. “καθαρά Δευτέρα”. It is the first day of Lent in the Orthodox Religion and marks the first day of the fasting diet. It is also a day to celebrate the beginning of Spring, and it is common for people to take a picnic lunch and go somewhere to fly kites. Sitting in this Taverna in the Peloponnese Region of Greece back in 2010, we celebrated this day with our friend Dina. Sitting on the shores of the Saronic Gulf looking across to Hydra made for a wonderful afternoon. Dina made it clear before we ordered that we couldn’t eat ‘anything that bleeds’, so aside from vegetables, Greek Salad with Feta and bread, we enjoyed calamari, shrimp and mussels. And some white Greek wine, of course!

And by the way, the ‘Mardi Gras’ period in Greece begins about 10 days before Clean Monday, on a day called “Tsikno Pempti”, or Barbecue Thursday. On that day everyone goes home early to have a dinner of barbecued meats with family. Most people say it’s best if the meats are burned and charred a bit! The smell of barbecue is everywhere and the streets of Athens and most villages are obscured by smoke!

Greek Easter is on Sunday May 5th.

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