Thessaloniki: Lagana is up to 15% more expensive this year on Shrove Monday


Consumers in Thessaloniki will get the traditional lagana for Net Monday (7/3) at a higher rate of up to 15%, as the bakers declare their inability to absorb the increases in raw materials and energy, while they estimate that this year they will bake a total of around 450,000 pieces in order to sell them.

As he explained, speaking to the Athenian / Macedonian News Agency, the president of the Bakers’ Association of Thessaloniki “The Prophet Elias” Elsa Koukoumeria, with this appreciation (last year the price per piece ranged from 2.20-3 euros), the bakers “will not increase their profits, but will reduce their great losses”. He typically stated that the price of flour is recorded this year increased by 40% compared to last year “and in general the raw materials in bakeries have risen in price by 30% to 50%”, at a time when, as he says, large increases in energy.

It is recalled that the bakers of the prefecture of Thessaloniki had increased the price of lagana in 2019, when previously for eleven years they kept it unchanged.

The bakers will bake around 450,000 laganas

Regarding the bakers’ expectations for the traffic in the bakeries on Shrove Monday, the president of “Profitis Ilias” appeared moderately optimistic, explaining that “last year and the year before last, due to the measures imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, consumers did not get one lagana, but two and three. This year, the situation is different and after two years of “closure”, people need to get out. Thus, I believe that the Thessalonians will observe the custom of lagana, but without exaggerating “.

In this context, she estimated that this year the bakers of the prefecture will bake about 450,000 laganas, when last year on the corresponding day “this number was far exceeded”. In fact, according to Koukoumeria, this year’s Tsiknopempti the traffic in the bakeries “was the worst of the last five years at least”.

Ms. Koukoumeria explained that the preparation of traditional lagana that is done by hand, is a laborious process of 12 hours and on Shrove Monday, each bakery must work from 21:00 on Sunday night, until 15:00 at noon the next day, in order to meet demand (up to 700 pieces the average consumption per store). This, according to her, makes it clear that the baker will have to pay a triple daily wage, “at a time when the profit margin for the baker is now negligible”.

The traditional custom of lagana

The traditional custom of lagana plays a leading role at the Lenten table on Holy Monday. Lagana is unleavened bread, meaning it is made without leaven, and it appears to have been used by the Israelites on the night of their Exodus from Egypt under the guidance of Moses. From then on, it was enforced by the Mosaic Law for all the days of the Passover feast, until Christ at the last Passover blessed the enzyme bread.

The history of lagana runs through the entire nutritional tradition from antiquity to the present day. Aristophanes in “Ekklisiazouses” says “Lagana is falling”, while Horace in his texts, mentions lagana as “The sweetness of the poor”.

The custom of lagana has remained unchanged over the centuries and is usually prepared with taste by the neighborhood baker, crunchy and sesame seeds and consumed on Shrove Monday, the first Monday of Lent.

As for why this particular Monday is called “Clean” it is mentioned that the name came from the habit of the housewives in the morning of this day to wash all the kitchen utensils with hot water and ashes, as “cleaning day”. Then they hung them in place, where they remained until the end of the fast. Also, on this day, everyone went out to the countryside as a family and lay down on the ground and ate fasting foods such as halva, olives, tarama and -of course- lagana.

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