40 de mucenici

Mucenici (Muntenia)

by viviana on March 9, 2012 in Desserts,Festive

Today we celebrate the Orthodox “40 Mucenici” (40 martyrs) in Romania, and as the tradition requires, we make a sweet soup with cinnamon, nuts and dough in the shape of 8’s.

For as long as I remember, my granny would prepare the dough in the shape of small 8’s on the night before (March 8), and then boil the Mucenici soup on March 9. The smell of cinnamon and lemon peel granny used for the Mucenici still gives me such a warm feeling…

Legend: On March 9, the Orthodox celebrate the sacrifice of the 40 saints from Sebaste who died for their faith in Jesus. Around 320 a.c., 40 soldiers were captured and asked to give up their Christian faith. They refused. They were forced to get into a frozen lake, and the legend says that they started praying to God to save them. While the martyrs were drowning, 40 little flower garlands emerged to the surface. Hence the shape of the mucenici. The similarity goes even further, as the mucenici raise to the surface of the soup when you cook them :). The soup we cook in Muntenia is a symbol of the lake the saints drowned in (when you add the crushed nuts, sugar and cinnamon it resembles a frozen lake).

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