Little cookies or breads, depending upon the region of Greece or Cyprus, are today’s tradition.
These treats are made throughout the Greek world on the Saturday of Lazarus, the day Orthodox Christians believe Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead and the beginning of Holy Week.
The spiced sweet breads are eaten by observant faithful to celebrate the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
They are shaped like a man, wrapped in a funeral shroud with arms crossed and decorated with cloves for eyes.
There are numerous recipes and variations but given the strict fast of the Lenten period, any variation of this recipe is always egg and dairy free, but packed with spices.
A popular Greek expression even includes an admonition for all homes to bake Lazarakia on this day.
Λάζαρο αν δεν πλάσεις, ψωμί δεν θα χορτάσεις states one folk proverb, meaning that, if you don’t kneed Lazarus (breads), you won’t get enough bread to satisfy your hunger.
Popular Greek chef Akis Petretzikis also has his own version with complete instructions and ingredients in English and Greek.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has created an instructional video that includes a simple recipe and instructions.
Featured photo: Akis Petretzikis’ Lazarakia
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