Friday, 13 April 2012

Cheap 'n' Greek 'n' frugal: Good Friday (Μεγάλη Παρασκευή)

On Good Friday (Μεγάλη Παρασκευή)), my mother never cooked anything. We would eat soaked broad beans, olives, slices of tomato and pickled peppers, with some bread. Good Friday is one of only two days in the religious calendar of the Greek Orthodox church when a strict fast is observed - no meat, fish, eggs, milk or dairy products, as well as no olive oil and wine.

These kinds of meals are interspersed among the months and seasons of the Christian Orthodox calendar. Although they have a religious base, they serve a dual purpose. The pure lenten meal, according to the strict fast, is a form of detox, not just for the body which is being cleansed by the acidic brines of the preserved foods and the grinding power of the beans.

While the body is being purified, the mind in the now lighter, more relaxed and freer body is also being challenged by the thoughts of the day, which are concerned with death, but also of new life, as the build-up to Easter continues, leading to its climax.

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