Tsiknopempti-Grill Thursday

A celebratory symbolic day is Tsiknopempti and this is an annual ceremony, the origin of which is lost over the centuries. The most likely version is that it comes from the Bacchus festivals of the ancient Greeks and is one of the few that managed to be preserved.

Tsiknopempti is in the 2nd week of the period ecclesiastically called Triode, the period that last three weeks before we enter Great Lent, the fast before the Orthodox Easter. Households clean out what’s left of winter’s supplies. It is the day that is exactly 11 days away from Clean Monday, as on this Monday the house is now ready to begin fasting and prepared for the 40-day period of Lent. Its name comes from the words “stink” (the smell of roasting meat) and “Pempti”, as traditionally on this day we roast and consume large quantities of meat, while in the Greek countryside even today, people share platters of roasted meat, so that the smell of grilled meat can reach every house in the village (Τι είναι τελικά η Τσικνοπέμπτη; τι ακριβώς γιορτάζουμε και ποια τα έθιμα, 2022).

Alongside the events of cooking meat, other symbolic ceremonies begin, such as the “Vlachic wedding” in Thebes, which is a remnant of the ancient worship of the god Dionysus that perpetuates the orgiastic religion of the son of Semele. It is the imitation of the marriage of two young people that ends on Clean Monday with the procession of the bride’s dowries and the feast of the relatives of the couple. Accordingly, on the same day disguised dances and feasts begin in Crete, while in Ios, an island of Cyclades, disguised people girded with sheep bells visit houses and shops. The custom is dominant in Northern Greece as well, as in Serres where big fires are lit in the fire pits, in which after roasting the meat, they jump over them, while at the end someone from the group humorously takes over the “consultations”, stirring the coals at the same time with a piece of wood. A little further north in Komotini in Thrace, they roast a hen that will be eaten the following Sunday, Shrove Sunday, and the engaged couples exchange various foods and delicacies as gifts (Τι είναι τελικά η Τσικνοπέμπτη; τι ακριβώς γιορτάζουμε και ποια τα έθιμα, 2022).

Τι είναι τελικά η Τσικνοπέμπτη; τι ακριβώς γιορτάζουμε και ποια τα έθιμα (2022). Retrieved November 15, 2022 from