Carnival from “carne” or meat is the last “sinful” day as Christians transition to 40 days of lent. There are many customs around Greece including those well-known in Xanthi, Larisa, Naousa, Rethymnon (Crete), Zakinthos, Corfu, Patras, Nafplio. Smaller celebrations in mountain villages like Agios Andreas in Arcadia have several political messages but they all end in dancing and sharing food. Pagan to Christian traditions as we prepare for Spring. And of course if you ever make it to Venice, Italy 🇮🇹 or New Orleans in Louisiana for your beads …
Larger cities have several parades over many weeks including the Patras youth parade (καρναβάλι μικρών Πάτρας) activities which this year after many lockdowns and restrictions was a year of great energy and fun! And the masquerading can include Latin dancing with great colleagues — much needed for physical and mental health!
In Greece, and many Eastern Orthodox Christians after the last Sunday of Carnival, on “Clean Monday” the cultural tradition for kids and families is to fly a kite 🪁 symbolic of the soul flying high — no meat, subdued and happy moments, with family the beginning of the 40 days of Lent. We need to manage our limbic system, in order to manage our anger in healthier ways… it’s not as easy as it looks (kite flying I mean 😏) but soaring high makes us feel as if we are free and with our maker.
“Today is the day when bold kites fly, when cumulus clouds roar across the sky. When robins return, when children cheer, when light rain beckons spring to appear.” Robert Mccracken (Irish author, former food scientist). There are many “kite quotes” as written up by Rene Turrek, a page of 122 to be exact, that will inspire all!
Ms. “Sarakosti” keeps time with her legs ! 7 weeks ….
Do not forget Ms. Sarakosti, the 7 feet symbolize each week of Lent. She humbly reminds us to turn within and add our family members names (optional) keeping us on a detoxification, continuing on our spiritual path.
The hope is that we learn to soar and the “growth mindset” takes some time ….
- Manage yourself first ….including rethinking about what you do and say. No one is perfect.
- Sit with it — Extreme emotions may be warranted but not to the detriment of your relationships. Start counting ….it takes about 10 seconds to realize how you’re feeling and a quick body scan, 🛑 reflect and then act!
- Listen — Can you really “hear” truth or simply perceive criticism ? Good friends and family often want what’s best for us, so tease out what is valuable.
- Clean house — inner and outer, literally and figuratively. A bit of fasting and reflecting is healthy. Decluttering also makes you feel great and the KonMarie method is one to follow! As a matter of fact one healthcare group in Sarasota Florida has a great health literacy message and a visual from Unitedhealthcare on the benefits of decluttering for older persons too — one room at a time.
Photo above of a friend’s beautiful creation and she wishes all, a “Happy Sarakosti!”
There are many simple recipes for making “Miss Sarakosti” (translated to Miss 40 days) and she has no mouth or it’s wrapped for being modest or humble. Here is a video by Christina Kyvranoglou, you can also download /print the above to make your own cardboard form.
Simple ingredients — flour, salt, corn flower, vegetable oil, decor are usually cloves and raisins (food colouring optional), low baking temperature 160•C and let it dry for at least 25-30 mins before displaying.