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Eastern Orthodox tradition: Lazarides/Lazarakia, sweet bread rolls shaped as St. Lazarus, prepared with regional ingredients on Lazarus Saturday, leading up to Easter. Cloves symbolize eyes. On Kos, betrothed girls make and send …

Close-up of Greek ‘Lazarakia’ means small
Lazarakia or Lazarides

In the Eastern Orthodox Church the day before Palm Sunday, known as the Saturday of Lazarus, marks the beginning of Easter preparations with the kneading of small, sweet bread rolls whose dough is laced with honey, walnuts, raisins or whatever ingredient is produced regionally. The bread rolls are given the shape of a man whose arms are crossed over his chest and are called lazarides or lazarakia, since they represent St. Lazarus, the man who was resurrected by Christ. The number of lazarakia made is determined by the number of children that a family has, with cloves used to represent the eyes.

A variation of this custom on the island of Kos involves betrothed girls preparing lazarakia in large quantities, stuffing them with nuts and fruits, and sending them to their future husbands.

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