Clean Monday – Καθαρά Δευτέρα – during the lockdown in Corfu…..

In our family, as I am sure in most here on Corfu, the kite flying is a “man thing” … the men seem to pretend they are not really bothered but there does seem to be some gentle rivalry as to who gets their kite highest LOL…..

Clean Monday [ Kathari Deftera] is usually one of my favourite National holiday days of the year.
It is officially the first day of what we consider Lent [Ash Monday in the UK] The day before on Sunday would have been the last of the Carnivals held the previous weeks ….Before I came to live in Corfu I lived in London and even back then Notting Hill carnival which was literally on my doorstep every year was a must-do if you were in London at the time it was on. So on coming here to live, it was lovely to see that here they don’t just carnival on one day, but the three Sundays before Clean Monday are carnival days!

On the  “Clean Monday,” we would pack a picnic [my family are professional picnickers!] full of our favourites, grab a kite, and head to Halikouna beach.

Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days. My personal favourite for the picnic is fresh taramasalata with slightly warmed pitta bread and the marinated Gavros [anchovies] that my hubby does… they literally melt in the mouth and taste amazing!

In years past we would meet our son’s Godfather [ νονός] and his family and he would race to get his kite higher and higher until it was literally a dot in the atmosphere and we were holding what was probably kilometers of string bobbing into the sky to the dot…In all my years here no one has ever been able to explain why on this one day everyone flies a kite – it is just accepted as part and parcel of the custom and naturally brings smiles to the faces of all – young and old. The one explanation I was given once was flying the kite was a way of “trying to reach the Divine” but otherwise, no one really seems to know……….

One year we didn’t go to the beach – we went to the top of Pantokrator Mountain !!!

It was pretty special to look down and see all the kites flying from all the beaches and gardens below….

But we won’t be flying a kite this year. This year we are not allowed to gather, to even go further than 2km from our home [unless for a specific reason and with the correct permissions]…Corfu is at this moment in a total lockdown…. this year we will still have our traditional dishes, we will be with the family we can be, we will hopefully be outside to eat if the weather permits [it is actually quite cold as I write this and so windy it would have made a great flying day!]. We will look forward to a time when we will all be at the beach again  …. all coming soon just not quite quick enough for a traditional “Kathari Deftera” ….. But we are keeping positive, looking forward to being able to move freely again, and welcome you to beautiful Corfu to help you find your new home! 

“Καλή Σαρακοστή!” (kali sarakosti) Happy Lent from all the team here!


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