Wheat or Koliva

Boiled wheat is served on celebration days and at memorial services. It is usually sugared, with ground walnuts, and a priest sanctifies it by pouring wine on it, and the guests eat it. In some areas the wheat is not ground, but whole cooked grains mixed with walnuts and honey are eaten  (koliva). More often it is cooked and ground, then mixed with walnuts and sugar. At home, the wheat is cooked on the eve of the patron saint’s day.


The word koliva is a Greek word, kоlivоn, meaning a grain.


Wheat or koliva have been in church use since the earliest days, as a church symbol. It reminds us of plant offerings of the Old Testament, strengthening the link between this earthly live and the heavenly one. Wheat grains symbolise the first Christians who in themselves preserved the seed of God. The image of the underground rotting of a wheat grain Lord gave as an example of His death and Resurrection, and at the same time, as an image of a dying of our old selves and giving birth to our new selves.


It does not have to be eaten only on festivity days, but any day you like. It is a delicious cake.

1 kg white wheat grain,
1 kg walnut kernel,
1 kg sugar,
powdered sugar,
a nutmeg.

Wheat grains are boiled thoroughly, then put in a sieve to drain for an hour or more, and then it has to ground in a grinder (twice, to get an extra fine texture). Then 1kg of sugar and 1 kg of ground walnut kernel are added to the mixture, and one finely ground nutmeg. The mixture has to be evenly blended and left overnight refrigerated. Before serving, a powdered sugar icing has to be made.


The cooked wheat is made everywhere where patron saint’s days are celebrated.  There are various way of making the wheat, depending on a region. In cities, even in earlier times, it was more of a cake, but in the countryside it was made in a more modest way.