Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Green Monday

Monday this week was 'Green Monday'. It was the first day of Lent for the Greek Orthodox Church. Some years Easter coincides in the Eastern and Western churches, but this year Western Easter is April 16th, and Eastern Easter is a week later, April 23rd.

There's a longer period of Lent for the Orthodox, too. Whereas ours started a week ago, on Ash Wednesday, their started not a week later but only five days later. They have a carnival weekend prior to Lent, with children dressing up in costumes and bands playing at the sea-front, then Green Monday is a public holiday. Traditionally Cypriots clean the houses from top to bottom, ensuring there's no meat in the house, and then go on a picnic with their extended family. We didn't go anywhere - Richard didn't even take the day off, since he has someone new working with him for a couple of months - as we knew the roads would be packed with vehicles.

We don't fast from meat (or anything else) during Lent, but we try to be sensitive to our neighbours. Whereas the next couple of months provide the ideal weather for barbecuing, it's hardly fair to have the smell of meat cooking over a barbie wafting around the neighbourhood. So we make sure we only eat meat inside until after Eastern Easter.

1 comment:

Steve Hayes said...

Interesting -- here the first day of Lent is called "Clean Monday", and Lent actually begins at sunset the evening befere, or during the evening service, when the white altar cloths and vestments are exchanged for black or purple, and the music changes to a minor key. And at the end of the service we all ask each other for forgivness, and forgive all those who ask forgiveness of us, which is why it is "Clean Monday".