Green Monday is a bank holiday in Cyprus and one the Cypriots all celebrate in a unique way, by going outside and having a picnic on the beach or in the fields.
If I am in the office in London on Green Monday, I always look forward to hearing what our Representative Nicole and Manager Neoptolemos are up to on this day. So instead of giving them a day off, I pester them to find out where they are, and what they are eating.
Nicole in Paphos has kindly told us here what Green Monday means to her:
Kathara Devtera in Greek or Green Monday has been my favourite day in Cyprus for many years. Getting out to the fields with friends and family, having a vegetarian picnic and flying kites is really something special. Already on the way to “our” place at St. George beach we can see people from early morning putting their BBQ, table and chairs up, and the whole sky is already full of kites! Kites have been promoted for sale for many weeks in the shops.
As Green Monday is the first day of Lent only vegetables, fruit, octopus or shellfish together with a special sesame bread called “Lagana” only available on this day in the bakery, is served, together with some dips and obviously a glass of beer or wine.
My favourite on this day is the beetroot salad with spring onion, garlic and coriander which I usually only do on this occasion together with some calamari, prawns and avocado dip. For desert we have fruit or semolina pudding with honey, nuts, raisins or as well daktila, syrupy, crunchy finger shaped cookies.
On bigger beaches the municipalities usually organize music and dance and some games to entertain the people.
I personally prefer though the area around St. George (without any itinerary) as my sons enjoy fishing on that day and the area there is suitable to do this. After finishing the BBQ, the men in the party may play some cards or Backgammon, and the ladies are off for a walk and a catch up chat.
According to weather conditions we may spend the whole day outside and only return in the evening, or we may get together at someones house, as we did this year, to finish the day off with a glass of wine. I really like this wine, look out for it when you visit Cyprus!
And from Neoptolemos in Lysos village: Green Monday, the first day of Lent, the day that all Cypriots are looking forward to, to spend in the nature at the countryside and wishing to have sunny weather to enjoy it at the maximum.
It’s the Monday that Cypriots and Greeks abstain from eating meat.
When I think back to my childhood the more I realise that those years were more genuine, using only the products we had available, to prepare the picnic in the countryside in a vegetarian way.
I remember sometimes we used to go to the playground of the school in Lysos, as more people were there for the children to have more options to play with other children.
The fresh broadbeans were my favourite together with fresh artichokes. Most of the times we were eating them raw uncooked! Sometimes we put them in aluminium paper in charcoal and served them with oil and lemon.
Playing football or volley ball without having any net was a must! Sometimes while we were at playground we were organising competitions of running and fighting.
Nowadays more products are available as well more seafood, and a picnic could include olives, legumes, fruits, kalamari, octopus, shrimps, oysters, cuttlefish, mussels, the traditional Green Monday bread called “Lagana” and “Halvas” a sweet made with tahini sesame paste).
Paphos Carnival video to celebrate Green Monday
Here is a link to the next Green Monday dates as it is a great time to enjoy the festivities alongside the Cypriots, so why not include the date in your villa holiday?