As I began to think about what to write about this week, Ι couldn’t let the week pass by without acknowledging the Sarakosti. Sarakosti or the Great Lent, is the 40 day Lenten period that starts with Clean Monday and ends on Holy Saturday night. I remember growing up and clean Monday was a big deal. My mom would make a lagana, we’d have tarama, and even though we were restricted in our eating, we made a party out of it. My husband, although not one to go to church, does usually fast before Easter and Christmas. This year he decided 50 days over the typical 40 days. It is a man’s prerogative to do as he likes. I have been trying to come up with some great Lenten recipes and came across something that I had personally never seen before, the Sarakosti poem. I think it will be a perfect way to begin to explain Lent to my almost three year old. As a former Sunday School teacher, I honestly can’t believe I didn’t come across this earlier in life as it would have been an amazing tool to use with the children. For my friends with little ones or those of you who are current Sunday School teachers, please check out the link here . A big thank you to our friends over at Orthodox Mom for bringing this great tradition to our attention.
As we embark on the Great Lent, prayers is also such an important part. Our nightly ritual is to kiss Panagia’s icon before making our way into my daughter’s room. Since she’s still young, all of the icons in her room are hung high up where she can’t reach. Over 15 years ago, during my Sunday School teaching days, we made this icon with our students. I still have it today and it is on a table as you enter our home. She must pass by it to reach her room so it has become the ritual to say thank you to Panagia, kiss the icon and off to bed we go. I was thinking how I could incorporate something more during Lent. I was able to find an easy toddler prayer on the website of the Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Lowell, MA of all places, bringing it back to Massachusetts.
Praying With Toddlers: each them early to venerate icons and to Cross themselves. Explain simple concepts of God and Jesus. Pray with them by helping enumerate their blessings: Jesus loves my _______ . Thank you God, for _______ .
Child’s Prayer: Heavenly Father, bless my parents and all those who love and care for me. Help me in all ways to be respectful and obedient to them according to Your will. Send down upon me Your grace to perform all my duties carefully and faithfully, to avoid unacceptable company and influence and to resist all temptation that may come my way. Help me Lord to live a serious, good and godly life, praising You constantly and glorifying Your holy Name. Amen.
Your child is never too young or too old to begin to pray. They have a wonderful Orthodox Prayer Book, that you can find in full here. Thank you to the Transfiguration Community for this wonderful resource.
Kαλη σαρακοστή σε ολλους σας.