THE GREAT LENT: TRADITIONS AND GASTRONOMY
What is it?
Greek Orthodox Lent is a time of fasting before Easter, which means abstaining from foods that contain animals or animal products. Exception is the fishes and seafood without blood.
When is it?
The Great Lent starts with the Clean Monday and ends the Great Saturday. Easter is a movable feast so Lent is also movable. It lasts for 7 weeks, 49 days.
Why do Christians fast before Easter?
The purpose of fasting is to cleanse the body as well as the spirit in preparation for accepting the Resurrection at Easter, which is the most sacred of all observances in the Greek Orthodox faith. Besides, for the Christians it’s really important to be able to control themselves and learn how to say “no” to the sins.
In addition to cleansing the body and spirit, Lent is also a traditional time for spring housecleaning.
There are many customs that take part in these days. One of the oldest and most important is the custom of “Kyra Sarakosti”, “Miss Lent” if we could translate it. It was either a drawing on a paper, of an old lady without mouth because she couldn’t eat, she had seven (7) legs as many as the weeks of the Lent and it was used as calendar until Easter. In other areas it was a figure made by dough with the same characteristics.
During the Lent period, foods that come from animals with blood are forbidden. This includes all kinds of meat, poultry and many kinds of fish. Also restricted are eggs and dairy products.
Famous dishes for these days are recipes based on legumes, vegetables, rice and seafood.
Sweets play also important role to the Greek cuisine and because of that, we couldn’t leave them unmentioned.
One of the easiest sweets to prepare in this period is “Halvas”, only 4 main ingredients… easy to make, unforgettable taste.
Info taken from: https://www.thespruce.com/