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Ash Monday on the Filopappou Hill

Ash Monday on the Filopappou Hill
Experiencing Ash Monday on the Filopappou Hill is an unforgettable journey into the heart of our traditions and the vibrant celebrations that mark the beginning of Lent. The Filopappou  hill, with its panoramic views of Athens and the Acropolis, becomes a focal point of joy, music, and communal festivities known as "Koulouma," a cherished event that welcomes both young and old from early in the morning.

The celebration commences with the ceremonial tunes of the Athens City Philharmonic Orchestra, a moment that fills the air with anticipation and marks the official start of the festivities. This musical initiation is not just a performance; it's a call to the community, inviting everyone to gather, celebrate, and prepare for the Lenten season with a spirit of togetherness and joy.

Following the Philharmonic's lead, the atmosphere shifts to what can only be described as a genuine traditional feast. The air is rich with the sounds of traditional music, encouraging everyone to join in the dance, connect with their roots, and immerse themselves in the rhythms of Greek culture. It's a scene that captures the essence of Greek festivities, where music and dance are not merely forms of entertainment but expressions of our collective identity and heritage.

The hillside and surrounding areas are dotted with families and groups of friends, spreading out their picnic blankets, ready to enjoy the special Lenten fare. The scent of "lagana," the special flatbread of Clean Monday, mingles with the salty breeze of the sea, while olives, taramosalata, and other fasting foods are shared with a sense of community and joy.

Kite flying, a quintessential activity of the day, adds a splash of color to the sky, with kites of all shapes and sizes dancing in the wind. The laughter of children chasing their kites, the cheers of families and friends as they soar higher, and the overall spirit of camaraderie under the Athenian sky encapsulate the essence of Clean Monday. It's a day where the mundane is set aside for the celebration of life, tradition, and the natural world around us.

As the day progresses, the sense of unity and celebration only deepens. Strangers become friends, sharing stories and delicacies, and the boundaries between the old and the young blur in the universal language of dance and music and you are more than welcome!