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What is Clean Monday? How Do Eastern Orthodox Christians Celebrate Clean Monday?


Jesus in the Wilderness

Jesus in the Wilderness

What is Clean Monday?:

Clean Monday is the Monday that begins the season of Great Lent in Eastern Orthodox Churches. This corresponds to the season of Lent found in Western Christendom, but the periods of these two seasons are calculated differently. Both have 40 days between the beginning and end of Lent because of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting the desert. Western Christendom doesn’t count Sundays because Jesus is recorded as having resurrected on a Sunday while Eastern Orthodox churches do count Sundays.

What Call it Clean Monday?:

This first day of Great Lent is called “Clean Monday” because Christians are called upon to begin the holy season with “clean hearts and good intentions.” It is also because the season of Lent is regarded as a time for when Christians should clean up their spiritual house, coming to terms with their lives and rededicating themselves to a more holy and righteous way of living.

What Do Eastern Orthodox Christians Do on Clean Monday?:

Clean Monday is a day of strict fasting — Christians are permitted to take no food from midnight to noon and no meat all day. Christians are expected to spend extra time during the day in prayer and Bible reading, just as they should throughout Lent.

Clean Monday in Modern Greece:

Because Clean Monday is considered the first day of spring, Greeks tend to celebrate less by fasting and prayer and more by outdoor activities and picnics. Traditional foods this day include octopus, olives, and shrimp. In addition to picnics, traditional outdoor activities used to celebrate the day include flying kites, dancing, music, and so forth.

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