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.
WHAT IS OUT:
- No sugar and alcohol or any processed foods.
- Engaging in harmful, gossip like conversations.
- Electronic screen time or eliminating all screen time aside from my work and writing.
WHAT IS IN:
- Daily Yoga and Meditation practice
- Make time to have more meaningful conversations.
- 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”.