The liturgical season of Great Fast (Sawma Rabba) begins on Petratha Sunday. The Syriac word Petratha has the meaning 'to return', 'to pass through', 'to finish' or 'to end'. The weeks of Great Fast is the season of looking back at one's own life and of real reconciliation. It is only from a deep awareness of being sinners, of being separated from God the source of life and of being redeemed, that believers will be able to raise authentic and sincere praise and thanksgiving to God the Redeemer. This salvific experience is the attitude of reconciliation. We express it several times during the celebration of our Qurbana and other liturgical acts, but the season of Great Fast is a special occasion to proclaim this attitude. The sacrament of reconciliation (Confession) is a typical expression of this attitude. Hence it is very difficult to call one a real Christian, if one fails to celebrate at least once this sacrament of reconciliation during the Weeks of Great Fast.

Petratha Sunday is an important day for St. Thomas Christians. Plenty of special food is prepared and relished during the day. The day's food is of special significance also because meat and fish are away from the kitchen for the next 50 days. Pidi and chicken curry is a Petratha speciality.

Recipe for making Pidi the special food on the Petratha.

Credits: Mar Thomma Margam ("A New Catechism for the St. Thomas Christians of India") by Fr. Varghese Pathikulangara, CMI.


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