The tradition of Tsiknopempti – The day Greeks eat large amounts of grilled meat

The tradition of Tsiknopempti, The day Greeks eat large amounts of grilled meat

The tradition of Tsiknopempti, The day Greeks eat large amounts of grilled meat

Time to fire up that BBQ as today is Tsiknopempti (Smoky Thursday) for 2021, otherwise referred to as the week of Kreatini.

This is a special day of the year in Greece, where a large amount of meat is traditionally grilled and consumed, just before the arrival of Great Lent, marking the lead up to Pascha and also the official start of Apokries (Carnivale).

The tradition of Tsiknopempti, The day Greeks eat large amounts of grilled meat

The three-week Carnivale in Greece:

  • First week is Profoni (prelude)
  • Second week is Kreatini (meat week)
  • Third week is Tirofagou (cheese week)

Individuals who fast for 40 days without meat during Easter lent use Tsiknopemtpi (Τσικνοπέμπτη) as a day to eat as much meat as they want, right before fasting begins.

It’s all about cuts of pork, lamb, beef, goat or any other meat of your choice and with a huge emphasis on grilling and charcoal and by far, the most common item will be some variation of souvlaki.

You are guaranteed to smell grilled meat anywhere you are.

The tradition of Tsiknopempti, The day Greeks eat large amounts of grilled meat

Beyond the standard grilling, each region of Greece also has its own customs and traditions which are celebrated on this day every year.

What is certain is today is one of the busiest days for butchers around Greece, and Greek households will be preparing and enjoying their favourite grilled meat dishes, creating a cloud of smoke where ever it’s being cooked.

Kali Tsiknopempti!
*Recipes on GCT
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