Greeks usher in Lent with a day of kite-flying and picnics

Undeterred by grey skies and the threat of rain, Greeks turned out for the traditional kite-flying and the outdoor picnics that usher in the start of Lent on Clean Monday, the first day of Lent in the Orthodox calender. Many areas celebrated with outdoor parties serving Lenten bean soup (fasolada), seafood, halva and the flat, unleavened “lagana” bread.

The City of Athens held its own Clean Monday events on the Pnyx Hill and Filopappou, opposite the Acropolis, where many Athenian families went to fly their kites this year in spite of steely skies.

The record for the year’s largest lagana loaf went to a baker in Larisa, who baked a three-metre lagana weighing in at 65 kilos, using 60 kilos of flour. A close runner-up, using 40 kilos of flour, was a bakery on Crete that produced a lagana that was 4.5 metres long and 1.5 metres wide.