Kyra Sarakosti is known as Lady Lent. Without a mouth, ears and with seven legs, she looks like she is the stuff that children’s nightmares are made of, but she is quite an innocent Greek tradition really. At least that is what Greek preschool teachers would tell you after giving these dolls to children and telling them to cut off their legs – one per week until Easter.

There’s a perfectly good explanation. The mantra goes: “Kyra Sarakosti, no mouth has she. She neither talks nor eats. She has no ears, she does not hear gossip or idle speech. Upon her chest, her crossed arms rest, as she entreats Christ all day. And seven feet – no more, no less – has she to count the weeks. Each Saturday we cut off one of her seven feet. The last we hide some place inside some fruit or nuts or treats. The one who finds το τυχερό receives good luck in heaps.”

At this point we should add that this little bit of folklore may be linked to Lent, but it is not a church tradition. Critics say it is horrific that a woman is depicted, though the lack of mouth has nothing to do with silence but is more about fasting.

Children in Greece are given cardboard cut outs, but there are also recipes to create Kyra Sarakosti cookies for the kids.