Foods for liturgical feast days
Setomaa is rich in feast days play and many dishes are associated with specific days or periods.
The seven days before Great Lent, were Butter Week. Dairy products were still fair game but not meat. On Sunday of Butter Week, is was customary to prepare yeast-based blini in a big oven. 22 March marked the day of the Forty Martyrs, but in Setomaa the day is closely connected with birds. So, 40 small bird-shaped loaves of bread were baked and taken out to the stack of kindling wood.
On Easter Sunday, meat and dairy products could be consumed again. Boiled eggs – generally dyed red – were laid on the table. The menu was rich in dairy dishes: sweetened curds and curd pies. Pork and scrambled eggs were also served. Whitsunday featured yellow-dyed eggs, sõir and egg cake.
St. John’s Day coincided with a fasting period (7 July) in Setomaa, so many kvass-based cold soups were consumed. Occasionally dairy-based dishes – above all sõir and egg dishes were made, too. The most important food of St. Peter’s Day (12 July) and St. Paraskeva’s Day was sõir.
19 August is the Feast of the Transfiguration. Apples and apple pie, curd cake and bread with honey were consumed on that day. For the Dormition of the Mother of God (28 August), ordinary feast food was prepared: white bread, pies, sõir and fruit soup.
For Michaelmas, a sheep was slaughtered. The meat-eating season started on this day. It was customary to bake a pie, and to drink home-brewed beer. At Christmas (7 January), a pig was slaughtered, meat jelly, liver pate, black sausages and black puddings were prepared, as were white bread, pastries and home-brewed beer.