# Clean Monday **Clean Monday** (Greek: Καθαρή Δευτέρα), also known as *Pure Monday* , or (in [Cyprus](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Cyprus) only) **Green Monday**, is the first day of the Orthodox Christian [Great Lent](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Great_Lent). It is a movable feast that occurs at the beginning of the 7th week before [Pascha] http://orthodoxwiki.org/Pascha . The common term for this day, "Clean Monday", refers to the leaving behind of sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods. Liturgically, Clean Monday—and thus Great Lent itself—begins on the preceding (Sunday) night,[](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Clean_Monday cite_note-0) at a special service called [Forgiveness Vespers](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Forgiveness_Sunday), which culminates with the Ceremony of Mutual Forgiveness, at which all present will bow down before one another and ask forgiveness. In this way, the faithful begin Great Lent with a clean conscience, with forgiveness, and with renewed Christian love. The entire first week of Great Lent is often referred to as "Clean Week," and it is customary to go to [Confession](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Confession) during this week, and to clean the house thoroughly (or to have it clean before the beginning of the Fast). The theme of Clean Monday is set by the [Old Testament](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Old_Testament) reading appointed to be read at the [Sixth Hour] http://orthodoxwiki.org/Sixth_Hour on this day (Isaiah 1:1-20), which says in part: > _Wash yourselves and ye shall be clean; put away the wicked ways from your souls before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well. Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, consider the fatherless, and plead for the widow. Come then, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow; and though they be red like crimson, I will make them white as wool_ (v. 16-18). Clean Monday is a public holiday in [Greece](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Greece) and [Cyprus](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Cyprus), where it is celebrated with outdoor excursions, the consumption of shellfish and other [fasting](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Eastern_Orthodoxy Fasting) food[](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Clean_Monday cite_note-1), a special kind of [azyme](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Azymes)(unleavened) bread, baked only on that day, named "lagana" (Greek: λαγάνα) and the widespread custom of flying kites. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days, but shellfish is permitted. This has created the tradition of eating elaborate dishes based on seafood (shellfish, molluscs, fish roe etc). Traditionally, it is considered to mark the beginning of the spring season, as evidenced by the sticheron fro the [Lenten Triodion](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Lenten_Triodion), "The Lenten Spring has come...".[](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Clean_Monday cite_note-ap-2)[](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Clean_Monday cite_note-3) The happy, springtime atmosphere of Clean Monday may seem at odds with the Lenten spirit of repentance and self-control, but this seeming contradiction is a marked aspect of the Orthodox approach to fasting, in accordance with the [Gospel](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Gospel) lesson (Matthew 6:14-21) read on the morning before, which admonishes: > _When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret..._ (v. 16-18). In this manner, the Orthodox celebrate the fact that "The springtime of the Fast has dawned, the flower of repentance has begun to open..."[](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Clean_Monday cite_note-ap-2) ## Notes 1. http://orthodoxwiki.org/Clean_Monday cite_ref-0 Orthodox Christians, following the Old Testament practice, count the day as beginning at sunset (Genesis 1:5). 2. http://orthodoxwiki.org/Clean_Monday cite_ref-1 Strictly observant Orthodox hold this day (and also Clean Tuesday and Wednesday) as a strict fast day, on which no solid food at all is eaten. Others will eat only in the evening, and then only [xerophagy] http://orthodoxwiki.org/index.php?title Xerophagy&action edit&redlink 1 (lit. "dry eating"; i.e. eating uncooked foodstuffs such as fruit, nuts, halva, bread and honey, etc). 3. http://orthodoxwiki.org/Clean_Monday cite_ref-ap_2-0 [3.1] http://orthodoxwiki.org/Clean_Monday cite_ref-ap_2-1 Aposticha, [Vespers] http://orthodoxwiki.org/Vespers Eastern.2FOriental_Catholic_.26_Orthodox on Wednesday of [Cheesefare Week](http://orthodoxwiki.org/Cheesefare_Week). _The Lenten Triodion: Supplementary Texts._ Tr. Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware (Monastery of the Veil, Bussy-en-Othe, France, 1979), p.25. 4. http://orthodoxwiki.org/Clean_Monday cite_ref-3 This is also a notion which was used symbolically in Ivan Bunin's critically acclaimed story, "Pure Monday."