Δευτέρα 18 Μαρτίου 2024

The custom of Lagana

The traditional custom of lagana plays a leading role in the fasting table of Clean Monday. Therefore, on the occasion of this special day, let's get to know in more detail its history, which is lost in the centuries.

Lagana is unleavened bread, i.e. it is prepared without yeast. Such shortbread was used by the Israelites during the night of their Exodus from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. From then on it was imposed by the Mosaic Law for all the days of the Passover until Christ at his last Passover blessed the leavened bread.

The history of lagana runs through the entire nutritional tradition from ancient times to the present day. Aristophanes in the "Ecclesiastics" says "“Λαγάνα πέττεται" ie "Laganas are made". And Horace in his texts mentions the lagana as "The sweetness of the poor". The custom of lagana has remained unchanged over the centuries and it is usually prepared with love by the neighborhood baker, crispy luscious and sesame seeds and consumed on Clean Monday, the First Monday of Lent. The name of "Kathara" came from the habit that the housewives had in the morning of this day, to wash all the cooking utensils with hot water and ash, as a "day of purification". They were then hung in place where they remained until the end of the fast. Also on this day, everyone would go out as a family to the countryside and lay down on the ground and eat fasting foods such as halva, olives, tarama and lagana.

From Clean Monday, man prepares after the feasts and feasting of the Apocryons, to cleanse his soul and body in order to reach the end, i.e. at Easter and to be resurrected again with the Resurrection of the Lord. A typical example is the lagana that has the shape of the "lady-Lent", which represents a tall woman with a cross on her head, she has no mouth because she is all fasting. Her hands are folded for prayers, she has seven legs symbolizing the seven weeks of fasting. A custom used to measure the time during Lent was every Saturday to cut off one leg and the last one was cut off on M. Saturday where they hid it in a dry fig or a walnut and whoever found it was the lucky one for the next day year.

Delicious and delicious for all of us lagana is a product worthy of respect and with a real rich history, it will be a great loss for the coming generations to forget our traditions, to forget the old Lenten smells. The neighborhood bakers faithful to our traditions prepare lagana on Clean Monday, thus contributing to the preservation of the custom, so that new generations have the opportunity to hear, smell and taste Lent because the Lenten smells are indirect carriers of a deep spirituality.