Chureck and Ancient Ishtar Affinities

Appears in

Delights from the Garden of Eden

Delights from the Garden of Eden

By Nawal Nasrallah

Published 2019

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The etymological key to chureck is its shape – round. In medieval Islam, jarq was a kind of bread shaped into rings. The name is the Arabized form of Persian jarg ‘circle’ and charka ‘wheel’ (Steingass, Persian–English Dictionary).

Chureck is known in other countries, where it is traditionally associated with Easter. In Greece and Cyprus, for instance, it is called tsoureki, and is shaped into braided loaves. In Armenian it is choreg, and in Turkish, çöregi. Its counterpart in traditional Eastern European Easter baking is kulich/kolach. The Bulgarians, for instance, call it kolach, but they more traditionally shape it like a ring or a wheel, which is more like our chureck without the cross. The name is claimed to be of Slavic origin, closely connected with the bread’s round shape: kolo means ‘circle’ (Ingram and Shapter, The Cook’s Guide to Bread).