Greek Nursery Rhyme

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Pladw kou lourakia

Me ta dou cerakia

  • o joutnos da ta yush

To soiti da murish

Kneading the lourakia (specific Greek Easter shortbread cookie)

With the our hands little

The oven will bake

The house will smell

Kneading the cookie dough

With our little hands

In the oven it will bake

And fill the house with a good smell


Kano palamakia

Me ta duo cerakia

(This one verse is repeated over and over)

I make little dough

With my two hands little

I make the dough

With my two little hands

Above are two Greek nursery rhymes passed down within my family. Although my mom and her siblings specifically remember this from their mother, my grandfather, who is from a different part of Greece, recalls learning these rhymes as a child as well. My grandmother does not recall the context in which she learned the rhymes, just that she has always known them. I have witnessed this lore in performance by the woman in my family, and even by my non-Greek father, during any interaction with babies. My grandmother claims that it is a “way to speak to the little babies” and a way to be animated with them.  My grandmother and other family members recite these rhymes to any baby they are playing with no matter if they are Greek or not. Thus, it is clearly a playful practice of connecting with young babies.

The translations of the rhymes indicate the Greek culture’s emphasis on food. Both are about making dough and the fact that these lyrics appear in child lore demonstrates the significance of knowing how to cook at an early age. Additionally, the first rhyme explains that once the cookies are in oven, the house will be filled with a warm delicious smell. This line suggests the comfort that is associated with cooking as well as the importance of the “home”. Both of these implications are valued aspects within a Greek family. The references to food and the home within these nursery rhymes help to further highlight the prevalence and importance of the topics within Greek culture. The value placed on the home and especially on food, which connects to the culture’s regard for family, is taught at an early age and thus a prominent theme within child folklore.