Celebrating Clean Monday (Katheri Deftera) in Greece
Celebrating Clean Monday (Katheri Deftera) in Greece

Celebrating Clean Monday (Katheri Deftera) in Greece

Celebrating Clean Monday (Katheri Deftera) in Greece

Hello Friends!

Katheri Deftera is the Greek name for Clean Monday, the first day of the Great Lent. For Greeks, this is a very special day, as it is a time for family and friends to come together and enjoy good food and company.

Being new to Greece, I was unaware of this holiday when I stepped outside my hotel and onto the streets yesterday. I remember seeing a lady walk by with a BIG rainbow kite and thinking “WOW, look at the majestic looking kite”, blissfully not aware of the holiday. Later on, I was informed about the day, and then it took a turn for the fun.

From my understanding, Katheri Deftera, also known as Clean Monday, is the first day of Lent in the Greek Orthodox Church. It is a day of fasting and repentance, and marks the beginning of a 40-day countdown to Easter. You are not encouraged to eat meat on this day, and they eat special bread that locals eat only on this day. Most people spend the day with family and friends, while kite flying is the traditional activity of choice.

The Katheri Deftera bread is traditional Cypriot bread that is made on Good Friday. The bread is made with flour, water, yeast, sugar, salt, and aniseeds… or at least that is what I think my Greek friends said to me, in a heavy Greek accent, that sounded more like they were telling me my fortune than a recipe for bread.

After finishing my work day for D.Buzz, I sent a message to a new friend I made a few days ago in the park. They told me about the holiday and invited me to join them. Up for a good time, I grabbed my sense of adventure and set out.

Grab your sense of adventure too and join me today in this post. 🙂

The day started around 4 pm. Walking across town to a meeting point, we stopped by a few stores to get food and headed to the park to eat. That is where the photos and story kick off.

Location : Pasha’s Gardens : Thessaloniki 546 34
Google Map Link : https://goo.gl/maps/82ybuWVPFYmzd5su7

If you are looking for a breathtaking view, lush gardens and plenty of photo opportunities, then Pasha’s Gardens is the place for you. This magnificent park is located in the heart of Thessaloniki and is the perfect spot for a romantic stroll or a family picnic.

It was the 5 of us who headed to this park. The first thing we did was to unpack the meal we bought and dine!

1 (2).jpg

While I was not a beer fan, they had drinks and some wine, we talked, and they told me more about the holiday. Next to us, other locals were trying to fly a kit. While they did not succeed, it was still a great opportunity to say hi and connect

1 (3).jpg

Lol, We all attempted till it got dark to fly that kite. Different methods, different people stepped up to take a try, but no success. While the kite never took off, the smiles and good times did.

1 (4).jpg

We also ate the dishes of food, and bread. The restaurant even gave us real forks to eat with… not plastic or wood, but straight up metal forks. WOW. Fancy!

1 (5).jpg

At one point, we tried to re-tie the kite strings too… again, only smiles, no flight.

1 (6).jpg

Also, in the park, many other locals meet together. Some brought guitars and sang songs, It was a nice feeling to be there experiencing a genuine experience with the people of the community.

1 (7).jpg

As the sun started to set, the temperature dropped off. Not wanting to call it a night at 7pm, the crew built a small fire to stand around and keep talking and playing.

1 (8).jpg

At first, we produced a lot of smoke… like a LOT… thought the police would show up. However, no. No one seemed to mind us all having fun, standing around a little fire.

1 (9).jpg

Here is a little better photo of the smoke rising up!

1 (10).jpg

After a bit, however, the fire started going nice. We put on some music, and I was taught a traditional Greek dance.

1 (11).jpg

Here are the amazing people that invited me to join them in this experience.

1 (12).jpg

Despite my hesitation, they also took a photo with me in the center too.

1 (13).jpg

We stayed until around 10:30 pm. Talking, joking, dancing, telling stories and exchanging ideas about life. All the while gathering twigs from around the park to keep the fire alive.

1 (14).jpg

At about 11, the forecast said rain was inbound. With a heavy heart, the fire was quenched, embers stamped out, and we walked back to the city.

1 (15).jpg

They invited me to go to a community home, a squat with them. My knees told me another story. However, the knees said, go home and rest. Sometimes you have to listen to your body, more than your desire to party. We said goodbye, and they left on a bus. I walked the 2,000 steps back to my hotel, thinking about the day and the fun memories in the park. Also, how do you fly a kite? I think it is a skill I need to master.

Adventure and friends. Had you told me when I woke up that I would be celebrating Katheri Deftera in a park with new Greek friends that night, I would not have believed you. Life is an adventure, friends await to be found. I hope you enjoyed this post and have some great experiences too!


If you liked this article, you may be want to read How to Make Friends When Traveling.

Tim on a Rock
Tim on a Rock
Roaming Sparrow is a project by Tim Mack. It is a life on the road, an adventure to gain knowledge and share genuine experiences.
Find some great experences, check out Viator!

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with a fellow traveler. 

Read Other Posts from the Sparrow.

The Best Bar in Danang
Discover the Secrets to a Fulfilling Life: Introducing "The Secret to 7-Figure Living"
A Vibrant Explosion of Joy: Holi Festival Celebrations at Furama Resort
Rejuvenation in the Bamboo Forest: