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"Lady Lent": The ancient Greek custom and recipe

One of the oldest Greek customs for Lent and Easter by Argiro Barbarigou


One of the oldest Greek customs for Lent and Easter is Lady (Kyra) Lent (Sarakosti), which is nothing more than a makeshift calendar that counted the weeks of Lent, the official beginning of which is Clean Monday.

“... On Holy Saturday, their last leg was cut off and this piece of paper was hidden in a dried fig from what they had dried in the summer or in the bread they baked for the night of the Resurrection.”

This diary was made of paper in most houses. They painted a woman in a wide skirt, with a cross on her head, with her arms crossed for prayer, without a mouth for fasting, and with seven legs - one for each week of Lent. Starting on Clean Monday, every Saturday that passed, they cut off one of her legs so they knew how many weeks they had left until Easter. On Holy Saturday, their last leg was cut off and this piece of paper was hidden in a dried fig from what they had dried in the summer or in the bread they baked for the night of the Resurrection. Whoever found the paper foot of Lady Lent on the slice of bread that belonged to him or the fig that he caught from the basket, they believed that he would be lucky, it would bring him luck, good luck.



Apart from paper, in many other parts of Greece they made Kyra Sarakosti from dough, with flour, salt and water.



The recipe The dough for Kyra Sarakosti is made with: About 1 cup of water, 1 cup salt, 3 cups flour (g.o.x), add as much water as needed to make a pliable dough. "Drying" is done in the oven, not on very high heat, for about 20-30 minutes, since the goal is to dry and harden and not to bake!



This dough is not eaten, it is only made for good, since it is salt dough, as they say. The dough has a large amount of salt on purpose, so that it can be preserved for up to 7 weeks and does not mold. There were many housewives who put in a small coin. At the end of the 7th week, each member of the family cut a small piece by hand. To whomever the coin fell, it meant he would be lucky! This dough is not eaten, it is only made for good, since it is salt dough, as they say. The dough has a large amount of salt on purpose, so that it can be preserved for up to 7 weeks and does not mold. There were many housewives who put in a small coin.

At the end of the 7th week, each member of the family cut a small piece by hand.


The seven (7) weeks (every week and holiday) of Lent


1st Sunday of Orthodoxy

2nd Sunday of Saint Gregory of Palamas

3rd Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross

4th Sunday of St John of the Ladder

5th Sunday of Saint Mary of Egypt

6th Palm Sunday

7th Easter Sunday


There is also a children's poem that the children in the Primary School used to recite when they made Kyra Lent with the seven legs for their class.


"The Lady Lent

who is an Old Custom

our Grandmothers made

with Flour & Water


For Jewel, they placed

in her head, a Cross

but they forgot her Mouth

because she was fasting for a long time.


And her Days count

with her seven legs

and they cut one every week

until the arrival of Easter."



Do something different and traditional this year!

Make a Lady Lent and if you have children, why not, teach them this forgotten poem. Blessed Lent!

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