Clean Monday Celebrations

Our favourite place to spend Clean Monday is the village of Mystraki, up in the hills behind Vounaria, one of the places where people traditionally fly kites and eat steaming bean soup, courtesy of the villagers, on the first day of Lent. Last year, it poured, and everyone was balancing hot soup, home-made-wine, and a plate of taramosalata, unleavened bread, olives, pickles, salad and halva under their brollies.

This year, the organisers had taken the precaution of serving the food under cover, at the far end of the village. The soup was great, as always, and the village hospitality warm and welcoming. Although quite cold, it kept dry for the event, but the turnout was quite low and there were very few kite flyers this year.

After lunch we wandered up to the church and finally managed to get our kite in the air for a few seconds, after much help from several friends in making a replacement part for it!

I spoke to an old man in the church who said that when he was a child, he used to walk to school in Klissoura every day (it’s a good few kilometers away and up a very steep hill). The population of Mystraki was then over 100. The current population is around 8 in winter, and around 50 in the summer, when several houses are occupied by their owners who now live in Athens or abroad.

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