Lazarus was a good friend of Christ whom he chose to spread the word of God to the world and to prepare it for his own Resurrection. His good friend fell ill and died, but the power of faith and love through Jesus' face brought him back to life.
Our people commemorate Lazarus' Sabbath with various customs. One of them is the Lazaros carols. These carols are sung only by girls called "Lazarines". From the day before they collect flowers to adorn baskets. With them they go from house to house and sing. Housewives who hear the bells give the Lazarines fruit, and some food or money.
Another custom is Lazarakia. These are small buns shaped in human form. They put walnuts or raisins in the dough or whatever else was in season.
Tradition says that anyone who does not make Lazarakia on that Saturday morning will not easily find food to eat.
300ml olive oil
200ml cinnamon juice
200ml orange juice
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and clove powder
Zest of one orange
2 sachets of yeast
15g gum (mastika)
1 pinch of salt
1.5 kg of flour
Whole cloves (for the eyes)
300g dried raisins
In a saucepan boil water with 4-5 cinnamon sticks, strain and allow to cool slightly. Dissolve the yeast in a teaspoon and add 3 tablespoons flour. Cover and let rise for about 20 minutes.
In a basin pour all the liquids, olive oil, wine, raki, orange juice, lemon zest, cinnamon and clove powder mahlep, mastic, salt and finally the sugar. Stir very well until the sugar dissolves.
Add the yeast and then the flour gradually as you knead. Oil a pan and leave the dough to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours.
Take out the ball of dough, spread it out in your hand and fill with half a tablespoon of raisins. Shape the dough into a body shape. With another smaller dough ball, shape a cord and place it under the body. Turn the dough forward and glue crosswise. Put the whole cloves as the eyes.
Bake in preheated oven at 170 degrees for about 30 minutes.
I made this recipe together with the young students from the 45th elementary school of Heraklion. Many thanks to the teachers who gave me the opportunity to have a great time with the children.
The recipe is from the book ''Guide to the Cooking of the Cretan Cuisine Festival ''. All the proceeds from the cooking guide go to the purchase of equipment at the Hematology - Children's Oncology Clinic and PAGNI Oncology Clinic. We thank President Lena Igoumenaki for giving us this.