The pre-Lent tradition of Tsiknopempti was celebrated on Thursday at the Athens central meat market (Varvakios Market) after a three-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Butchers of the covered meat market offered visitors an assortment of meat grilled over charcoal.
Starting at 11:00 am, Athenians came to the capital's largest market to taste the meat offerings and hear the Philharmonic Orchestra of the City of Athens perform. Musician Pantelis Abazis also played guitar and accompanied singer Marina Manolakou.
Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis lent a hand in the roasting of the meat and exchanged wishes with the market's visitros and butchers, commenting on the return of the tradition after the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Pre-Lent celebrations, to reach their apex on Saturday, were also held at Kotzias Square, with a traditional dance performance from Thrace that included carnival songs wending its way from Eolou street to Monastiraki Square, where it handed over the entertainment to the Greek Music Laboratory of the City of Athens.
The pre-Lent carnival, or Apokries, is on Saturday and symbolises the last chance to celebrate and eat meat and dairy before Kathari Deftera ('Clean Monday', Feb. 27) when Lent begins. Greek Orthodox Easter is on April 16.