She has seven feet and wears a long dress. She has no mouth, no ears and her hands are folded. In her hair she carries a cross. She is made of dough or paper. Who is this mysterious figure? She is called Kyra Sarakosti!
I first met her when my daughter brought her home from kindergarten a couple of years ago. In her Greek class, she had made a Kyra Sarakosti, translated Lady Lent. Traditionally Kyra Sarakosti is crafted on Clean Monday.
Greek Carnival and Clean Monday
Laganas or Clean Monday Bread
Lady Lent has seven feet. They represent the seven weeks of Lent. Each passing week, on each Saturday, children get to break off one foot. This is a great visual way to countdown the weeks until Easter.
After the last foot is cut off, it is tradition to place this foot in a bowl with fruits and nuts and whoever finds it receives a special blessing.
Lady Lent has no mouth. The missing mouth symbolizes fasting. No consumption of meat, dairy products or eggs. She has no ears, this means that she refuses to listen to gossip. Her cross represents the easter religious services in the church, her hands are folded for prayer.
The poem for Kyra Sarakosti
In some regions of Greece, Lady Lent is made of clay and or fabric filled with feathers. There are many versions of Lady Lent, in some traditions, she is depicted as a nun, in others, she is a friendly lady in traditional Greek folklore.
If you want to bake your own Lady Lent, scroll down for the recipe and photos.
Lady Lent Recipe
2-2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2-2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
water (as much as needed)
decorations as you wish
* Not to be eaten! *
Combine the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and gradually add the water to form a dough. Roll the dough out and cut the figure out as shown above. Cut out two long narrow strips for arms and join at shoulders (wet surface to which arms will be applied). Make slits in dough for fingers. Mark closed eyelids and noise with any pointed object. Wipe entire figure down with a lightly dampened cloth to make shiny. Bake in a moderate oven until golden.
Happy Fasting or Kali Sarakosti!
*Special Thanks to Ms Aliki Banti and Melina’s Kindergarten