Kiria Sarakosti: The Traditional Calendar Counting Down To Easter

  • by XpatAthens
  • Thursday, 04 March 2021
Kiria Sarakosti: The Traditional Calendar Counting Down To Easter
At this time of year we typically would be celebrating carnival in Greece, but due to Covid-19 things are a little bit different this year; normally it is a huge celebration rooted in many cultural traditions throughout Greece and lasts 3 weeks. Many articles are written about Greek carnival, but have you ever heard of Lady Sarakosti?

It is not easy to translate the Greek “Kiria Sarakosti”, but we propose to call her “Lady-Lent” in English! It is an old tradition in Greece and a way to count the weeks from Clean Monday (the end of carnival) until Easter. This year the Carnival period ends on March 15 with Clean Monday, and from that day onward, you can use “Lady Lent” to count 7 weeks until Easter.

In most regions of Greece Lady Lent is just a paper drawing, but in some places she can be made of salt dough to be better preserved. In any case, it is not meant to be eaten, but to be used as a calendar! Elsewhere in Greece, you also find her made of cloth and filled with feathers. Its name in Greek recalls the 40 days of fasting beginning on Clean Monday and ending with the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. She has her arms crossed and is praying, and she has no mouth because of the fasting period.

Lady Lent has 7 feet (one for each week of the Lent period). The purpose is to cut one foot at the end of each week, so you can easily count how many weeks are left. The last foot–which is cut on Easter Saturday–is placed in the Easter bread (like with the vasilopita). The person who finds the piece in his bread will have good luck.

Although this tradition is now a bit forgotten, many young children draw Lady Lent in school. They will keep her in their room or the kitchen, to count the weeks till Easter! Easter is one of the main celebrations in Greece, but also a two-week holiday for all school children!

Click here to read more, learn some extra Greek vocabulary or the read this entire article in Greek!


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