This is the wheat - koliva - which we made and handed out at the 40 day memorial for Kosta's brother-in-law (Dina's husband).
It is made of
boiled wheat, which is dried overnight, spread out on sheets
chopped parsley, also spread out to dry
and covered in icing sugar and decorated with sugared almonds and other sweets
This is the second memorial. We made the koliva also for the 9 day memorial. The first one was with 3/4 kilo of wheat, this one with 4 kilos. We all helped in the preparation, Elli, Dina, me and a few cousins ands friends. The tray of koliva is taken to the church in the morning before the service and afterwards is mixed by the women, spooned into bags (200 of them this time) and given away with a small piece of sweet bread which has been blessed after the traditional coffee and mastica liqueur .
Used to be that it was always made at home by the grieving family along with wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth. In our case Thea Dimitro beating her breast and shouting 'why, why did you leave us' .
There were three candles lit, the wheat had to be cleaned three times. Now the job of making the koliva is usually handed over to a local woman who needs the money or to the undertaker who will provide the bags, plastic spoons and dish it out after the service.
It is an occasion to get the fanily together and I usually knock back a few glasses of the sweet mastiha (from the island of Chio) liqueur and have a good time. Then we all go out to eat and drink.....but no dancing. This is a memorial!
Since writing this we have had the 6th month memorial and are coming up for the 9 month, then the one year memorial, after which the new grandson can be baptized and have his hair cut for the first time.
We've had two memorial services at the monastery. It meant being there at 7.30 am. Afterwards we made the coffee and doled out the koliva in a cosy low ceiling room next door to the monastery church.