Did you know of one of Greece’s oldest and most beautiful traditions, leading towards the sacred and special celebration of Easter? Introducing ‘Kira Sarakosti,’ or simply- Mrs. Lent. A sentimental and visual tradition, celebrated in many corners of Greece during this time.
The custom begins on Clean Monday (Katharodeftera.) An edible biscuit doll is made and baked, however many people create Mrs. Lent out of paper, especially children at schools, and colour these with bright colours. Many people make more elaborate dolls out of soft fabrics, etc. and decorate these around the home in preparation for Easter. Indeed, the options are endless to say the least.
Mrs. Lent is symbolic regarding the way she is depicted. It’s a representation of the importance and significance of Great Lent, and how we too should prepare and cleanse during this time of fasting. Starting from head to toe. There is a cross above her head, which is a sign of reverence and spirituality as we embark on the journey of Lent, leading to Easter. She is depicted without ears. This represents her refusal to listen to gossip and negative, hurtful information of others. Nor a mouth, this is a representation of fasting itself. Her hands are together in prayer, which is imperative and pertinent during our spiritual and personal cleansing, and communication with God. In many depictions, she represents a nun to encourage the sacred and holy reverence one should adapt during Great Lent.
Mrs. Lent has 7 feet. This represents the 7 Sundays of Great Lent that lead to Easter. Traditionally, every Saturday during lent, a foot is broken off as a reminder of the remainder of Sundays left. The 7 Sundays are:
- Sunday of Orthodoxy (Orthodixias)
- Sunday of Saint Gregory of Palamas
- Sunday of Adoration of the Cross (Stavroproskinisis)
- Sunday of Saint John of Climax
- Sunday of Saint Mary of Egypt
- Palm Sunday
- Easter Sunday
Beautifully, after it’s broken off, the last foot is hidden- preferably somewhere within reach in the kitchen. This can generate great excitement amongst children, similar to that of an Easter egg hunt, when chocolate eggs are hidden around the yard or home. This could be amongst an arrangement of fruit, tossed amongst dried nuts or crisps in a biscuit jar or bowl, or in a bread box; somewhere that will allow a family member to it. It is said that the lucky person who does find it will receive good fortunes and luck including blessings for the year.