Kyra Sarakosti

On Clean Monday, it is traditional to make a doll known as Kyra Sarakosti (Greek: Η "Kυρά Σαρακοστή) or "Lady Lent". She can be made out of paper, clay or flour and baked. In some regions, she is made out of fabric and filled with feathers.[1] See templates provided below.[2]

Kyra Sarakosti is depicted with no mouth, a sign she is fasting. She has no ears, as she refuses to listen to gossip. There is a sign of the Cross above her head, eyes closed and her arms are folded reverently in prayer as a reminder of each person’s spiritual journey during Lent. She is depicted as a nun as a reminder of the kind of behaviour worthy of imitating. However, there are versions of Kyra Sarakosti as a modest and pious women.

She has seven feet so as to keep track of the number of Sundays of Great Lent before Pascha. Every Saturday one of her feet are cut or broken off until she had no more after Holy Saturday. 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.[3] The winner will write their name and year on the back of it and will keep it as a keepsake. In Chios they would put these legs in a dried up fig or walnut tree and whoever found it would be considered blessed.[4]

Flour-baked version
* * Warning * * DO NOT EAT!!!

2 – 2 ½ cups flour
½ cup salt
2 – 2 ½ tsp. cinnamon
water (as much as needed)

Combine flour, salt and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl and gradually add enough water to form a stiff, but flexible dough. Roll dough out to 1/2" thickness. With a sharp knife cut out the figure 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 pointed object. Wipe entire figure down with a lightly dampened cloth to make shiny. Bake in moderate oven until golden.

Kyra Sarakosti Poem

She wears a simple nun’s dress, with a cross upon her head, Her hands in prayer without a mouth, to keep the fast with mostly bread.

Her feet teach us how to count, the weeks of Lent are seven, We cut one off each Saturday, until Pascha and the new heaven.[5]

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  1. Never have I heard of Kυρά Σαρακοστή in my whole life