Monday, February 15, 2010

Global Greece: Koulouma 2010 - Kali Kathari Deftera! Kali Sarakosti to all!

Xronia Polla everybody! Yesterday,  February 14, 2010, was a wonderful daywith most of the world celebrating something! 

Carnival Time, The last Apokria, tis Tyrinis, as well as Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year!


Valentine's Day around the world, and Greece was no exception (although the fact that it coincided with the last Apokria and Carnival Sunday meant it was unusually low key this year...)

Chinese New Year and this year, the Year of the Tiger, it was also celebrated in Athens for the first time! 

The Kathari Deftera long weekend is always a special one in Greece.

Yesterday was the last Apokria, and carnival celebrations were taking place all over Greece - Carnivals in Patra and Naoussa - and today is Kathari Deftera,  or Koulouma as it is often called, the official beginning  of the 40 day fasting period of Lent, Sarakosti. Traditionally everyone is out in the open flying kites!

We were no exception, we got up early and all (my husband is the cook in our family) got involved in preparing our lenten food (Sarakostiana) - this isn't a food blog, we have so many expert Greek Food bloggers that we won't even try to pretend we can cook like they do, but we do want to show you some of the traditional Koulouma fare eaten today!


....squid, prawns

Along with taramosalata and Macedonian Halva, we are now ready for the Kathari Deftera feast. (The cooking is done, you can see the end result further down) and we are off to go fly our kite...

Despite the dire predictions for rain and cold, the weekend has been beautiful and today in Athens we woke up to a brilliant blue sky and a good strong wind - ideal weather for kite flying. 

There is an incredible sense of freedom in kite-flying, it is almost as if we are flying ourselves ,  reminding us of that wonderful song from Mary Poppins....

With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings
With your feet on the ground
You're a bird in a flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite

Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Let's go fly a kite!

When you send it flyin' up there
All at once you're lighter than air
You can dance on the breeze
Over houses and trees
With your first holding tight
To the string of your kite

It was great to see so many families with children enjoying the good weather out in the open - in Athens there were kites flying everywhere, from Kifissia to Piraeus, a wonderful sight indeed.The Public Power Corporation, DEH, wasn't very happy however, as quite a few kites got caught tangled up in the power lines, resulting in power outtages of several hours in some instances...

We managed to get our Pinochio hexagonal kite up and soaring - with a little help from our friends!

That's our kite  - the top dot!

We even helped to launch this one too!

By this stage we were pretty hungry so went back to enjoy the lunch we had prepared before we left!

Here are a few of the dishes in their completed state

Mydia (mussels) kapama, Octopus krasato with red peppers , Taramosalata

Beetroot, bulbs and leaves - make a delicious salad

Prawns with a delicate olive oil and lemon sauce

And,  of course, the Piece de Resistance, the star of the day...

...the famous Lagana! 
(someone couldn't resist taking a bite out of it on the way back from the bakery!)

Kali Kathari Deftera! 

Kali Sarakosti everyone!

Καλή Σαρακοστή!

For great Sarakostiana recipes visit 
Maria Verivaki's Organically Cooked, or Kalofagas' Greek Food and Beyond

1 comment:

  1. my god, you did well
    that is one feast!
    we managed to go out to see the kites - the day was lovely here.
    thanks for the mention!


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