H Sarakosti

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.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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How to not sound like an EllinoAmeriKanadezaki

So as I sit here and type I am trying to figure out the best way to continue the Greek language with the kid.  Obviously I want to make sure she can communicate with her grandparents and family members in Greece.  I try to think back about my upbringing and I can remember being in first grade doing spelling words with my tenant because my parents couldn’t help me.  Thinking back to that moment, I’m sure I’m not the only first generation American/Canadian/Australian who was in that boat.  Our parents immigrated to other countries so that we would have ‘a better life,’ which really meant more opportunities.  Greek was my first language and I do believe it helped me learn English. I don’t want to have a Mr. Portokalis moment alla My Big Fat Greek Wedding but the root word of many words is in fact Greek.  Saying all that how did my parents know how much to push me to make sure I learned Greet to not sound like an EllinoAmerikanaki and in my daughter’s case to have her not sound like an EllinoAmeriKanadezaki.  Yes I totally made that word up but if you’re Greek, you get my point.  I don’t want her to have that accent.  I don’t want people in Greece to think of her being any less Greek because she wasn’t born there.  A difficult thing for me to grasp is why so many programs and Greek Schools start at a later age.  Most language is grasped in the first two to three years so why wait until the child is four or five years old?  Would it make sense to come up with a curriculum that is play/song based to get our little ones going?

So help me out parents, at what age did you put your child in a Greek program? At what age did see your child engage with their Greek friends/family members in Greek? Do you think we should be doing more, earlier?

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

More Posts