Clean Monday, also known as Pure Monday is the first day of Great Lent, a 40-day fast that is celebrated throughout eastern Christianity. This period of fasting serves as a preparation for the celebration of Pascha. Clean Monday is the 7th Monday before Pascha, thus is a moveable feast. The term “clean” refers to the believer’s need to leave sinful attitudes behind. This begins with the custom of mutual forgiveness with which the believer enters the Lent with a clean conscience. Throughout Lent, the Christian has the opportunity to clean himself/herself from sin in every way and not only food, such as praying and giving up bad habits or unneeded luxuries.
In Greece and Cyprus, Clean Monday is celebrated with outdoor activities such as flying kites, and the consumption of fasting food such as shellfish. Traditionally, on this day a special kind of azyme bread is baked, called lagana. The lagana bread cannot be consumed on any other day of the year.
Clean Monday marks the beginning of Lent in commemoration of the 40 days Jesus spent in the dessert fasting and enduring the temptations of Satan.