Do you know that today is ''Tsiknopempti'' and Greece celebrates its own carnival?

Article published on Feb. 24, 2011
Article published on Feb. 24, 2011
What a strange word you will probably think! Today in Greece meat-lovers celebrate as much as possible since it's ''Tsiknopempti'' !  The name of the current day is based on the custom of roasting meat. According to the tradition the meat has to be barbecued, and as a result it's smell '' the tsikna'' overwhelms every neighborhood.

Since then the smell marks the name of this ''Pempti'' (Thursday in Greek) and it is called ''Tsiknopempti''.

Furthermore, all these days until the Great Lent, Greece is celebrating the carnival, which has nothing to do with what you know in Western Europe or Brazil! 

In past years groups of masqueraders of all ages, hung around in homes and neighborhoods, singing songs. The roots of this festival are based on the ancient Greek worship of god Dionysus. Back to that times, people followed by processions of floats were masked in satyrs, and under the influence of wine were making wicked jokes and teased each other. These were the first Carnival celebrations, and also the foundations of theater. They were the celebrations for the arrival of Spring. 

The carnival, however, is also related to the Orthodox Church! The four weeks during which in Greece we celebrate the carnival are also called ''Triodio'' based on the liturgic melodies of the Orthodox chants. 

The weeks of Triodio are preparing the people for the Great Lent. Thus, these two weeks are called the ''Apokreo'' (abstain from meat) week and the ''Tyrini'' (abstain from milk and its products). In each of the weeks the people who are going to fast for the Great Lent are abstaining from eating the respective foods in order to be prepared for the 47-day fast until Easter Sunday!