You may well have heard of Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday but what of Clean Monday? Well our sisters and brothers of the Orthodox churches will probably explain all about it for you.
On Clean Monday ( in Greek Καθαρή Δευτέρα) the Orthodox Lent begins, not with sombre faces, ash crosses and lamenting – but with kite flying, special jokes, mock trials, joyful processions… In Greece it is a public holiday.
What a fun way to begin Lent, and what an encouragement to see Lent as a springtime in our faith and lives. One of the prayers at Mass for Lent says ‘Each year you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed…’
Well we begin Lent at St Chrysostom’s somberly with ash, and many people ‘give something up’ for lent. Let’s make it a joyful Lent! Let’s think about taking something joyful up to help renew our minds and hearts!
Perhaps Kite flying, but please let’s not follow the custom of the people of the port of Galaxidi in Greece who on clean Monday dress in old clothes and throw coloured flour at one another!