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Often transliterated as koliva. A dish of boiled wheat berries, raisins, powdered sugar and spice dating back to ancient times, and served at memorial services held in the Eastern Orthodox church. The dish, which is quite time-consuming to make, is beautifully decorated with symbols of the cross and the deceased's initials in powdered sugar, then distributed in small cups at the end of the service.

The ingredients are symbolic. The wheat represents the promise of everlasting life, the raisins the sweetness of life, and spices represent plenty. Kollyva often has other ingredients as well, such as almonds, ground walnuts, sesame seeds, cinnamon, pomegranate seeds, raisins, anise and parsley.

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by PD