When I heard about “Clean Monday” that represent “cleanse” both physically and spiritually, first thing that came to my mind was the Jewish Yom Kippur. So being a serious PhD scholar I immediately started investigating. And stopped after about 2 seconds to simply ask chat GPT (smarter than me anyway) – is there a connection between the two holidays?
His answer was – Yom Kippur and the Greek Clean Monday are both religious observances with a focus on purification, but they are not directly connected to each other.
Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year in Judaism and is known as the Day of Atonement. It is a time for repentance and seeking forgiveness for sins. It is a solemn day of fasting and prayer, with a focus on atonement and purification.
Clean Monday, on the other hand, is the first day of the Great Lent in the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is observed by Greek Orthodox Christians. It falls on the Monday seven weeks before Easter and is a day of strict fasting and spiritual purification. It is known as “Clean” Monday because it is the start of a period of fasting and abstaining from meat, dairy, and other rich foods.
While both Yom Kippur and Clean Monday share a focus on purification, they come from different religious traditions and are observed in different ways.
Still, I insisted with GPT genius – Are there some similarities that could be compared? He was kind to say that both observances involve a period of introspection and spiritual purification, as well as practices such as fasting and abstaining from certain foods.
For example, both Yom Kippur and Clean Monday involve a period of preparation leading up to the observance, during which the individual may engage in acts of repentance and self-reflection. Both observances also involve a period of fasting, during which the individual abstains from food and drink for a specific period of time.
That was good enough for me. Of course, Yom Kippur and Clean Monday have different religious contexts, histories, and practices, and should not be viewed as directly equivalent or interchangeable and I respect the unique cultural and religious traditions of each observance, and to approach any comparisons with sensitivity and understanding. Having said that, I am always happy to learn more and find more reasons to adore the Greek culture which I come to learn and respect so much.
I am wishing all of a blessed and meaningful Clean Monday, and that this season of spiritual renewal brings us all closer to God and to each other.