Romanian Coliva

Romanian “Coliva” (term is also used under different forms in Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria) is, according to Wikipedia, “boiled wheat which is used liturgically in the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches”.

This traditional food is usually prepared for the days we comemorate our dead ones – special religious holidays. On these days mostly women (sometimes men too) bring to the church coliva and other kind of food as bread, fruits, cakes, and so on, or even cooked meals such as sarmale and a bottle of wine.

All these are blessed during the liturgical service and then they are given to the poor, friends, neighbours or members of the family.

Besides boiled wheat, coliva also contains sugar, walnuts,lemon zest, cinnamon and sometimes people cook it as a desert.

Here you can find one version of its recipe if you would like to prepare it yourself!

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About the author

Carmen Cristal
Carmen was born and raised in Bucharest, the city where she currently lives. She worked in the Sales Department of a radio station for 15 years. Along with some friends, Carmen recently founded a small company that deals with website development and online promotion. She loves English, listening to music, establishing connections and meeting new people and has a real passion for Ireland. Carmen is attracted by foreign cultures and she likes very much to travel (whenever it is possible!)
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  • marie

    What a lovely offering. It looks so delicious, too. Cinnamon, nuts, and lemon zest are some of my favourite flavours together. I’ll have to check out the recipe now!

  • It sure is delicious Marie !
    As usual, there are different versions of the recipe. If you are interested in experimenting it, I can give you the one my mother uses.

  • Dennis Oliver

    Salut, Carmen.

    I’ve had coliva. When I lived in Portland, Oregon, I had a lot of Romanian friends, and I also directed the choir in an Orthodox church that the Romanians attended until they started their own church.

    I also made something like coliva called kutja (or sometimes koliva). Kutja is sometimes made with rice and sometimes made with bulghur wheat, but always sweetened with honey. It usually included raisins and sometimes also included almonds. I’ve made it in all these ways.

    I get a little teary-eyed when I remember eating coliva / kutja / koliva after Pannikhidas (memorial services).


    Dennis in Phoenix