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Holiday Recipes: Easter, Christmas, Fasting & Lenten

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I sampled this at Christmas this year while in Ukraine, it is an unusual taste,  a little sweet, the Ukrainians love it.

To the Ukrainians Christmas is not Christmas without Kutya, a ritual dish and an integral part of the Holy Night Meal, is served only during the Christmas cycle of holidays which ends with the Feast of Jordan on January 19. Kutia is often the first dish in the traditional twelve-dish Christmas Eve supper (also known as Svyateh Vetchnyat). It is rarely served at other times of the year.

The origin of this dish goes back to days immemorial when the early Ukrainian ancestors first cultivated wheat. A relic of customs practised three thousand years before the Christmas era. This dish should be prepared several days ahead of of time for flavour to develop. It keeps very well in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or so. Kutya is high in nutritional value and should be eaten any time.

2 cups cleaned wheat berries
3-4 quarts water
1 cup cleaned poppy seeds
1/3 cup honey
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1.   Wash wheat in cold water and soak overnight in the 3 to 4 quarts of water.
2.   The next day, bring the water to a boil then simmer for 4 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
3.   The wheat is ready when the kernels burst open and the fluid is thick and creamy.
4.   Chop the poppy seed in a food processor (or coffee grinder) (or you can buy ground poppy seeds in some deli's) and set aside.
5.   Mix honey, sugar and hot water.
6.   Mix the honey mixture, poppy seeds, and chopped nuts and wheat.
7.   More honey can be added to taste.
8.   Keep in refrigerator.
9.   Traditional Ukrainian Cookery.

From our friend Rasputin, here is a link to some delicious "meatless" dishes for the Lenten season:

Here is how a great black bean soup might look!

For those who wish to keep the fast during Lent, here are the fasting rules as from the Russian Orthodox Church:

Thanks Mendeleyev! This is a great link. This year, I plan on trying to fast, and will even try to respect the marital fast as well  :saint:

Misha, may God bless and protect your family, and each of us, during the time of fasting.  Господи спаси и сохрани!

Today is the last day of Maslenitsa (Масленица)  or the week of blini. The Russian Wikipedia has a nice article on this Russian tradition:

This week involved traditionally preparing and eating a lot of blini. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law lives so far away as this Wednesday my MIL would have had to invite me to her home for blini (along with other guests) and Friday I would have had to invite my MIL in return for blini.

Today is the last day and particularly important: the "Forgiving Sunday" or Sunday of Forgiveness ("Прощеное Воскресенье"). Today is the day that you must ask all for forgiveness as you want to expiate your sins before the Great Lent which begins tomorrow. You ask for forgiveness from all the people that you know and they should reply God forgives (Бог простит).

The origins of this tradition are not quite Orthodox. It is one of these traditions that certainly can be traced back to pre-Christian traditions. It is the time that you say goodbye to winter and greet spring.

Tomorrow is the first day of the Great Lent which lasts this year from March 10 to April 26. Orthodox Easter follows on April 27th.


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