If you happen to be in Greece on a Thursday, don’t be surprised if you see people grilling everywhere on the streets! It will be because of Tsiknopempti day!!!
What is Tsiknopempti tradition?
Tsiknopempti (Greek: Τσικνοπέμπτη) is part of the traditional celebrations of Apókries, the Greek Carnival season. Tsikna (τσίκνα) refers to the smell of cooked meat, and Pempti (Πέμπτη) means Thursday. So, Tsiknopempti could be translated as Smelly Thursday, Charred Thursday, or Smoky Thursday. The celebration, as the name suggests, centers on the consumption of grilled and roasted meats!
When is Tsiknopempti?
Tsiknopempti is not a fixed date, though it’s always a Thursday in February or March. It is celebrated 11 days before Clean Monday, which marks the beginning of the Great Lent, a seven-week lent before Easter celebrated by the Greek Orthodox Church. The roots of this tradition are unknown, but it is believed to originate from the cult of the ancient Greek god Dionysus.
How to celebrate Tsiknopempti?
People are having BBQs everywhere, eating and drinking a lot with friends and family!!! Combined with the famous Greek hospitality, you will have a great Thursday no matter where you are in Greece! This is an ideal occasion for a wonderful eating experience in one of the traditional Greek tavernas!
But why Thursday, and not Friday, where it would be much more convenient as the weekend follows right after that? The reason why the custom of tsiknisma was chosen to take place on Thursday seems to be related to another strong Christian religious tradition. As for the Orthodox faith Wednesday and Friday are very important days of fasting, Thursday was considered a more suitable day for “organized” meat eating, when believers can eat meat for the last time before abstain from it for the following seven weeks.
So, type the word “Tsiknopempti” on google, check the date and join us on this fest! Be prepared to eat lots of meat, and drink lots of wine or beer. But most of all, prepare to have an awesome time!
I was born in Athens, in 1982. I've loved cooking since I was a small kid, and photography since I was a teenager. In 2018, I decided to combine these passions and now I am really glad and proud to be a Professional Food Photographer. At the same time, I like to consider myself a cook, and a food enthusiast! Join me, and let's explore together the magical world of taste and food presentation!