Next week we’ll be baking our annual Kyra Sarakosti, or Lady Lent, “cookies”. We use the same recipe every year from The Festive Fast cookbook and they have always turned out well and don’t require too much work.
The boys love this tradition and it’s a great visual for counting down the weeks until Pascha! I can’t tell you how much I love Great Lent. Yes, it can sometimes be challenging coming up with so many fasting meals and packing fasting lunches, but the joy you feel while preparing for Pascha is unexplainable. The reading of the Triodion and the Psalter, the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, Presanctified Liturgies, the approach of Holy Week…it’s really like living in another realm and I just love it. The excitement bubbles up inside of me just thinking about it.
This tradition began in the olden days to keep help children (and adults) keep track of the Lenten period. She was drawn in the image of a nun. She does not have a mouth to remind us that we are fasting and her hands are crossed in prayer. She has seven feet for the seven weeks of Great Lent. Every Saturday one of her feet are cut off. After the last foot is cut off, it is placed in a bowl of fruits and nuts and whoever finds it receives a special blessing. The winner will write their name and year on the back of it and will keep it as a keepsake.
We have never placed ours in a bowl but I think we will this year because last year was the first time the boys argued over who would keep her! I normally make her sort of big but if we’re going to hide it, I’ll have to shrink her a bit. 🙂
Here is a little poem that you can also print out and place next to your Lady Lent:
- 2-2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2-2 1/2 tsps cinnamon
- water as needed
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine flour, salt and cinnamon.
3. Add water teaspoon at a time until you form a stiff but flexible dough.
4. On a floured surface, roll dough out to approximately 1 cm thickness.
5. Use the sharp point of a knife to shape your Kyra Sarakosti. I always start from the top and work my way down to the feet last.
- Cut the shape of a body in a dress with a cross on the top of her head.
- Then, cut two long narrow strips for arms and join them at shoulders, dampening the spots where arms will be applied.
- Make slits in dough for fingers.
- Mark closed eyelids and noise with pointed object.
- Cut bottom like a dress with seven feet hanging out.
6. Bake until golden. Some may sort of bubble but will flatten out as they cool.
7. Once cooled, place on a plate or platter and cut one leg off every Saturday! (cookies are very hard and non-edible so be sure to supervise if allowing children to do the cutting)
8. Wipe entire figure down with a lightly dampened cloth to make shiny.
9. Bake in moderate oven until golden.
You can also head over to Crayola and print out this paper Kyra Sarakosti for children to color and hang on the fridge!
Now is also the perfect time for time to schedule an appointment for Confession, start meal planning (click here for my lenten meal plan that includes a ton of different recipes and my favorite method of meal planning), and getting everyone ready for the feast of feasts! Click here for some great resources and ideas to help you get your families prepared. The lenten season is upon us, y’all! 😉
I’ll be posting sign ups for the Psalter Groups again soon as well, so check back for that soon!