This week marked the anniversary of my Yiayia’s death. It has been 6 years since she passed away, yet I remember her like it was yesterday.
I wanted to make Koliva and take it to Church. However I have never made Koliva before and I am not a very good cook… so this simple traditional offering has become a big challenge for me. I have no idea how to make Koliva and I’m not too sure what to do when I take it to Church.
My yiaya’s memorial date has already passed. I know that it is important to make the Koliva before the memorial date. I understand that I am probably a little late with my preparations however, someone once told me that “it is never too late”. Traditionally Koliva is offered to the Church on the following dates after a loved one has passed:
- 40 days
- 90 days
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 1 year
- Yearly or every 3 years
I haven’t made my Koliva yet. I’m still thinking about it, learning about it, trying to understand it and soon… very soon… I think I will be ready to try it. I believe that learning ‘How to Make Koliva’ is the first step to preparing for spiritual journey. As Pres. Vassi writes in her blog post “preparing Koliva for those who have fallen asleep is more than just following a recipe and combining ingredients”.
RECIPE LINK: KOLLYVA + PROSFORO RECIPE FOR SOUL SUNDAY
To answer some of my challenged/questions, I did a bit of (google) research and this is what I found…
Challenge 1: Where do I find a recipe for Koliva?
- Ask the Cooks in Your Family: Well usually, for traditional Greek food recipes I ask my mum or my mother in law or my theas. However when I ask other people for a recipe they always want to help me make it. The Koliva was something I wanted to do on my own, so this time, I didn’t ask anyone.
- Check out other people’s blogs: At Anna’s Kitchen Table there is a great step-by-step guide to making Koliva with practical advice and pictures – however there is no ‘actual’ recipe. FoodGeeks.com has a simple recipe to follow or there is another great post on Emily Can Bake.com. One post that I really enjoyed reading is called Koliva – A Memorial Tradition of the Orthodox Church and it has been written by Presvytera Vassi.
- Greek Recipe Books: I only have a couple of Greek recipe books at home and none of them have the recipe for Koliva. Can you recommend a good Greek recipe book?
What Recipe Do You Use to Make Koliva?
Challenge 2: Where do I find more information about the meaning of Koliva in the Orthodox Church?
- The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Website has a really good explanation of what Koliva is and how to teach children the importance of remembering loved ones.
- Orthodox Wiki offers a detailed description of Kollyva and it’s symbolism.
- Ask Your Local Priest: I attended an information session about this recently hosted at our Church (I will go back and have a look at my notes).
Challenge 3: Where Do I Buy The Ingredients for Koliva?
- Wheat Berries: The main ingredient for Koliva is one of the hardest items to find. You can’t go down to your local grocery store and buy it easily. You actually need to source it from special suppliers.
- Other Ingredients include: Vanilla extract, rum, walnuts, raisins, honey, cracker crumbs, almonds, pomegranate and candy. *Ingredients can differ depending on the recipe – everyone has something a little bit different.
Where do you buy your Wheat Berries From?
Challenge 4: How Do I Decorate Koliva?
- Pinterest Inspiration: I have put together a pinterest board of Koliva decoration ideas and inspiration. Here is the link: http://www.pinterest.com/greekweddings/koliva/
How Do You Decorate Your Koliva?
Share your ideas and post a comment!
Related posts you might like:
- Kollyva + Prosforo Recipe For Soul Saturday
- Greek Tzatziki Recipe! Yum!
- Greek Mythology and the Tradition of the Pomegranate
- Celebrating Your Birthday Before the Date ~ Greek Superstition
Sia Aristidou is fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. Sia writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.
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