Cities in Cyprus emptied on Monday as most people headed out into nature for picnics to celebrate the start of the Orthodox Eastern Lenten period.

The skies filled with kites, as is the main tradition for Green Monday, as the holiday is known.

According to the met office, the weather was perfect for kite flying and for picnics.

Temperatures inland rose to 25C while on the coasts it rose to about 23C.

In the mountains the temperature reached 15C.

For Green Monday, picnic-goers gathered at the Faros area in Paphos, while in Larnaca the municipality hosted an event at the Hala Sultan Tekke area.

In Larnaca, the public was invited to thoroughly clean the area they used when leaving.

“We do not forget that our salt lakes and the forest next to the water feature are an integral aesthetic and ecological asset for our city and our homeland. It is up to us to protect them,” the municipality said.

Regarding other events in the Larnaca district, Aradippou organised celebrations from 11am until 4pm at the park. There was an artistic programme and traditional games.

Athienou organised an event in the picnic area, where the chapel of Archangel Michael is located.

In Lefkara the area of the stadium was made available to the public.

In Famagusta, people were allowed to go the Ayia Marina church in the buffer zone in Dherynia.

According to an announcement from the municipality, access was granted by Unficyp.

Meanwhile, the forestry department issued a statement advising people not light fires outside of designated areas in picnic sites.

The department also called on the public to show the necessary respect for the environment and keep areas clean by picking up litter.

People were also asked to avoid cutting or uprooting wildflowers and shrubs, since several of them are strictly protected, while some may be endemic and in danger of extinction.

Issuing a statement on Green Monday, police said that their presence was increased on the roads to help moderate the increased traffic.