Day 12. Lent- Σαρακοστή

How an old tradition translates into the modern age.

Every “clean monday” which is the first day of lent prior to the celebration of Easter in Greece, heralds the period of 40 days of preparing our bodies and minds for the coming of Easter. Even though I’m not in the least bit religious, I have followed a version of this transition over the years and especially while living in Greece.

Every Καθαρά Δευτέρα (clean monday), Greece celebrates this season of lent with cooking and serving foods that don’t have any blood in it  (fish, animal meat and it’s derivatives- dairy and eggs). Shell fish and mollusks (octopus, squid) are served in abundance, including fish roe salad (taramosalata), beans, greens (χόρτα), olives, and a shit ton of tahini. (no it’s not a condiment).

Aside from indulging in the amazing cuisine, I’ve always taken a moment to take out, take a break and reassess three things that I can definitely do without for 40 days. This period of time between our carnival season (απόκρεω – which literally translates to obtaining from meat) and Easter is a time for self reflection, removing of heavy foods that tire our digestion all year and removing things, ways of thinking and habits that no longer serve a purpose. With all the modern fad diets out there, claiming they are the next best thing. This simple ritual cuts through the overwhelming information out there about “juice cleansing” and magic pills, and brings attention to our personal responsibility to live well, treat our bodies with respect and find moments for quiet self reflection. 

With that in mind here are the three things I’m giving up for lent, and three things I’m replacing them with. 


  1. No sugar and alcohol or any processed foods.
  2. Engaging in harmful, gossip like conversations.
  3.  Electronic screen time or eliminating all screen time aside from my work and writing.


  1. Daily Yoga and Meditation practice
  2. Make time to have more meaningful conversations.
  3. Reading and researching about the subjects that inspire and enrich my knowledge. 

What can you do without for 40 days and what would you replace it with?

I look forward to hearing stories about your personal “lent”.

Published by

Eleana Kouneli

A former dancer, current yoga teacher, writer, curious traveler and wild soul. My fuel and desire is to learn from others and spread healing and joy as I go. Follow my adventures and see where they lead you! All the stories are true, all the poems are real and all the writing is mine. Enjoy

One thought on “Day 12. Lent- Σαρακοστή”

  1. Eleana, As I am Jewish giving up anything for Lent is not something I have ever done, though the week, 7 days, of Passover do involve “a giving up”of sorts. One is supposed to clean the house of anything made of the following: any leavened bread or flour products; degrease the oven; clean out the refrigerator; sanitize the sink ( that includes the insinkerator…) and clean the floor, my Mother would get down on her hands and knees and scrub it…but remember she was from “the Old Country”.Generally the house must be clean and pristine. One is also to have a completely separate set of dishes just for Passover. I am lucky to have the glasses and small bowls of my Mother’s, as they are a beautiful, red-grape, Depression Glass from the 1930’s! I “May” clean much more insistently than normal, mainly “for” my Mother as I’m sure she’ll know and appreciate it. I will eat just unleavened bread, Matzos, over the week, though getting rid of flour I doubt. As the two holidays are really connected, it turns out that this year the first night of Passover is also Good Friday, and the second day is Easter!


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