During Great Lent, which is 40 days, plus Holy Week, in which we remember the trial, crucifixion and finally the Resurrection of Christ, we focus on simple things in life, our salvation, fasting, praying more, and reading about examples, Christian saints.
In honor of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste (this Saturday March 10/23), we will be baking bread shaped as larks. The larks represent the Holy Spirit that was over each of the Roman soldiers who were Christians. They were stripped of their clothes and set upon a frozen pond, with a warm bath nearby. One soldier left and went to warm himself. There were just 39, then, but a guard who was watching, saw a brilliance over them and confessed himself as a Christian and joined the martyrs, so there were indeed 40. May this be an example to us, that we all do what is right in our lives, for the salvation of our souls. This is how the bread looked last year. This year, I hope they will look a bit more like that little one, using an almond as the beak.
Today we remember St. Oliva, of Brescia, Italy, who was martyred under the Emperor Hadrian in 138 AD. My daughter (4 years old, at the time) is standing next to her pillow on her bed. She has a little
icon of St. Seraphim on the top, and some flowers from church, along
with pussywillows from Palm Sunday 2007.
And a picture of her today. I made a sunburst braid. Here's a video tutorial. I actually made 3 more of them today, one with Hannah's hair and 2 of my niece's hair, too. Very pretty! My husband and girls after the parade this past Saturday...it rained all night, but thankfully not during the day.