Lady Lent
By Alicia Reese
March 7, 2023

I am always appreciative of the opportunity to learn about rituals and traditions of fellow Christians from different cultures around the world. It reminds me that I am just a small part of one branch of a global, cross-cultural religion. Our Christian family tree has deep roots, many branches, traditions, and denominations. We may differ in our theologies and practices, but we have all come to know the same God. And we all honor and nurture our relationships with God in different ways. Learning about one another’s traditions, rituals, and practices is an invitation to deepen our own understanding and relationship with God as well as appreciate the diverse global family of faith we are a part of.
Do you know Lady Lent? Just today, I was delighted to learn about her, a figure from the Greek Orthodox faith and culture.

Lady Lent (Kyra Sarakosti / Κυρά Σαρακοστή) is an old Greek custom affiliated with Lent. Kyra, in Greek means "lady" and sarakosti, is “the 40-day fasting period” of Lent.

When there were no calendars and people wanted to have some sense of time during the long season of Lent, they devised an easy method of doing this. They drew up an image of Sarakosti as a nun. They took a piece of paper and cut out the shape of a woman. Kyra-Sarakosti does not have a mouth, as she is fasting, her hands are crossed in prayer, and she has seven feet, one for each of the weeks in Lent, including Holy Week. Every Saturday one of her feet is removed. The last foot is cut off on Holy Saturday and traditionally is placed in a dried fig or nut and whoever finds it is considered to be lucky.

There is even a lovely little Lady Lent poem:
A seven-legged woman without a mouth may sound strange, but each of the representations of Lady Lent I have found are unique and beautiful! She can be made of paper or dough, a picture or a figurine. Here are just a few of the images I stumbled across. 
Lent is a long season and I like the idea of having a visual representation, a figure to accompany me through the season, helping me keep the time, staying intentional, reflective, and prayerful in my feasting and fasting disciplines.  
God of creation and the wilderness, thank you for creating such a diverse human family, for calling us into a family of faith, rich in traditions, rituals, and customs. May our hearts and minds always be open to new ways of knowing you and growing our relationship with you. Amen.
Speaking of Lenten Feasts…
Lenten Fellowship Opportunity Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 8.

Soup Supper. 5:30-7:00 pm in the chapel. Dinner will be served at 6 pm. Please join us for a simple shared meal of soup and bread. We will engage in fellowship as well as Lent inspired conversation.

Parking: Food pantry distribution ends at 5:30 pm, which means we may not have full access to the parking lot right away. If you arrive closer to 6 pm, that is ok! Carpool if you are able.

Entrance: the chapel door, off of Kenilworth, will be the main entrance for this event! This will eliminate the use of stairs for folks. But you will also be able to enter the church through the usual lounge door or the patio doors if needed.

This event is free! But if you would like to make a contribution, a suggested donation would be $5 (individual) or $20 (family).