There is an old tradition in Greece and Cyprus that on Saturday of Lazarus, before the Holy Week, women must knead some small sweet spice breads called Lazarakia “Little Lazaruses” as to celebrate the miracle of Jesus bringing back Lazarus form the dead.
The Lazarakia are shaped in the form of a man, which resembles swaddled figure of Lazarus with his arms crossed, as portrayed in the old icons. The eyes are made of cloves.
There is a variety of sweet spices that can be put inside the dough, like cinnamon or anise, but as fasting Lent food, they must be free of dairy products and eggs. Enriching the taste with raisins, walnuts, honey is permitted.
There is a Greek proverb saying that “If one will not kneed Lazarus, he will not have his fill of bread” meaning that you will not be able to satisfy your hunger in the days to come.
Leaving the old proverbs aside, Lazarakia breads look cute and are tasty, so don’t miss the opportunity to taste them!