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Tsiknopempti: "Smoky Thursday"

Tsiknopempti (Τσικνοπέμπτη), also known as "Smoky Thursday" in English, is a traditional Greek celebration that takes place on the Thursday before Clean Monday (Καθαρά Δευτέρα), which marks the beginning of the Lenten period in the Eastern Orthodox Christian calendar.

Tsiknopempti is a festive occasion characterized by the consumption of grilled meat, particularly pork, lamb, and sausages. The name "Tsiknopempti" is derived from the Greek words "tsikna" (τσίκνα) meaning "the smell of grilled meat" and "Pempti"(Πέμπτη) meaning "Thursday." During Tsiknopempti, people gather with family and friends to enjoy outdoor barbecues, taverna-style feasts, and street food festivals featuring an array of grilled meats and traditional Greek dishes. Grilled souvlaki, kebabs, kontosouvli (rotisserie meat), loukaniko (sausage), and gyros are among some of the most popular choices.

The celebration of Tsiknopempti is a joyful and indulgent prelude to the solemn period of Lent, during which Orthodox Christians traditionally abstain from meat and other animal products as a form of spiritual preparation leading up to Easter. Today, many people continue to celebrate Tsiknopempti as a cultural celebration, as they have no intention of actually fasting during the Lenten period.

Tsiknopempti is celebrated throughout Greece with enthusiasm and gusto, reflecting the country's vibrant culinary culture and traditions. It's a time for feasting, socializing, and enjoying the company of loved ones before the more austere period of Lent begins.

What meat did you enjoy on Tsiknopempti this year?


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