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Athenians brave weather for Ash Monday

Hundreds of Athenians braved the bad weather and headed to the hills on Monday to mark the traditional Ash Monday celebrations which include flying colourful kites, despite the downpour early in the morning.

"Every year it’s better because last year we celebrated with sleet. So I’m certain next year we’ll have sunshine," the mayor of Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, who visited the Philopappos Hill told journalists. 
"There's a message of optimism in every neighbourhood of Athens where celebrations were organised. This is a great message of hope, optimism and love for the people," he added. 

The municipality organised several events around the city, with Athens’ band welcoming visitors to the Hill with traditional tunes. Other bands were set up in several neighbourhoods and seasonal delicacies were handed out. About 3,000 portions of "lagana", the traditional bread baked for the occasion, and olives were distributed to people. 

Similar celebrations took place in other cities of Greece, including Thessaloniki and Chania in Crete.