Shrove Monday, also called “Koulouma” in Greek, is the first day of the Great Lent and is celebrated with special customs all around Greece. The most traditional Greek customs related to Shrove Monday are picnicking and kite flying on the famous Philopapou hill, near the Acropolis of Athens. You can also find different, more special customs in a short distance from Attica, like the following: “Alevromoutzouromata” (flour smudging) in Galaxidi, “Vlach Wedding” in Thebe, “Gaitanaki” with dancing and singing in Livadeia and “The Ghost of Charmana” in Amfissa. If you attend the flour smudging in Galaxidi you’ll find yourself in the middle of a fantastic colorful scenery, with thousands of people fighting each other using flour, ochre, lampblack, indigo and other coloring powders. Be prepared for this colorful atmosphere, wearing casual clothes, because there’s definitely no way you can avoid becoming a part of it! A Lenten food bazaar takes places in Mama Square in the port, on Shrove Monday morning at 10 a.m. At 11 a.m. is performed the Masquerade Parade and from 2.30 … get ready! As far as the Vlach Wedding in Thebe is concerned, things are quite more folkloric. You will actually participate as spectators in the representation of a traditional wedding, where the bride is usually of the male sex! This custom is already two centuries old and is inspired by the arrival of spring. It seems also to be influenced by the Dionysian tradition, as it includes bagpipes, drums, plenty of wine and feasting. On Shrove Monday morning they light fires in Epaminondas Square and dances start. At noon, around two, the wedding pomp of the "newlyweds" will start and the party will go on until the early hours. Bourani is a custom that takes place in Thessaly and is famous all around Greece, because of its provocativeness. Bourani itself is a soup composed of spinach and vinegar, offered to the people gathered in Profitis Elias before the feast. The special element of this custom is the fact that the participants, women and men, make obscene gestures, use profanities and phallic symbols to celebrate the arrival of spring! During the last years an original, flying feast takes place in the same area, in Ellasona. Air sports athletes from all over Greece get disguised and fly with paragliders over the area, landing at the foot of the mountain where the crowd is waiting and cultural events are held at the same time. No matter how and where you decide to spend this special day, in Sounio or elsewhere in Attica, take care of the necessary arrangements as far as your kite is concerned, so that it will conquer the Greek sky!
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