Leading up to Green Monday, happening next week on, yes you’ve guessed it, Monday, we have a few helpful pointers for tourists and visitors to Cyprus.
Green Monday is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, with schools and most businesses closed.
The date is not fixed in the calendar varying year to year as it is the first day of Lent.
Confusingly referred to as Clean Monday, Pure Monday, Ash Monday, Monday of Lent, this moveable feast occurs at the beginning of the 7th week before the Orthodox Easter Sunday.
As well as being called “Green Monday” you may hear people speak of “Clean Monday” (in Greek “Kathara Deftera”).
Greek Cypriots typically head out to have vegetarian picnics in parks and other natural locations all over the island. Families and friends gather together in fields, or head to the mountains and parks for vegetarian and seafood meals.
Events and activities take place in all towns and villages with music, dance, games and the traditional ‘Green Monday’ kite flying.
The first day of Lent, for the Greek Orthodox – marks a period of fasting which lasts 40 days until Easter. Curiously, Easter on Cyprus is a bigger celebration than Christmas.
Another tradition on Green Monday is kite flying and, whether store bought or homemade, they are usually brightly decorated, the majority being in the shape of a pentagon. The kites may be decorated with the logo of a favourite football or be multi-coloured. Some mayors organise traditional dancing, singing and games along with free food in their cities and villages, check locally for details.
If you find yourself on Cyprus this year during Green Monday hopefully you will have an enjoyable experience with memories to treasure.