Green Monday in Greece and Cyprus, and more generally in the Orthodox world, is a very significant day which marks the commencement of “Sarakosti,” meaning the beginning of the fasting and detox period of both the spirit and body for 50 days until Easter.
The Greek Orthodox world is such a huge meat lover society, so before entering the “sarakosti” they celebrate“tsiknopempti” which basically translates into a massive grilled meat day, where people eat meat from breakfast to late dinners on the Thursday before Green Monday…!!!
“Sarakosti” is such a massive tradition that housewives prepare for days in advance to make sure they get everything done in order to serve the particular food linked to the special day. Most of the foodstuffs are definitely considered a must. “Halva”, “Toursi”, “Lagana” bread, “Tarama” and “Tahini” are some of the fundamental, while the giant oven-baked beans, “Fasolia gigantes”, “Kalamaraki”, “Htapodaki” and “Soupies” are always part of that giant feasting table.
The day demands huge family gatherings – and if the weather permits it the countrysides of Greece and Cyprus overflow with huge families, gathering together to have a feast. , However, if Easter is very near to Christmas, since it is a movable celebration, according to the Greek Orthodox Church, the weather may not be suitable for the outdoors as it is very cold and winterish-so families gather indoors and celebrate the day.
The table is always huge and the gatherings even bigger and is very strict to keep up with the tradition of absolutely no meat and no dairy products.
Tahini – 500 gr
Taramosalata – 500 gr
Hummus – 500 gr
Toursi – 500 gr (pickled vegetable of carrots, celery, onion, cucumber and peppers
Churkins – 500 gr
Beetroots in vinegar – 500 gr
3-4 “Lagana” traditional bread
Htapodaki Ksydato 500 gr – octopus preserved in vinegar
Htapodaki stin sxara – fresh octopus cooked on charcoal or grill
Kalamaraki tiganito – deep-fried squid
Patates me rigani – fried potatoes in sunflower with dry oregano
Salad or tomatoes, cucumber and fresh salad leaves like rocket or “louvana”
Soupia sta karvouna – cuttlefish cooked on charcoal or grill
Tsipoura sta karvouna me ladolemono – bream fish on charcoal or grilled with plenty of olive oil and lemon sauce and chopped parsley
Bakkaliaros me skordalia – deep-fried haddock fish with garlic sauce
Garides sta karvouna me ladolemono – Shrimps on charcoal with plenty of olive oil and lemon sauce
Fasolia gigantes ston fourno – Giant oven cooked greek beans with onion and tomato sauce
Plenty of lemon spread around
A big table, plenty of loved ones and lots of apetite.