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The tradition of Tsiknopempti

The tradition of Tsiknopempti

Tomorrow is Thursday but not any Thursday of the week.

We are in the period of the Triodion, that is, the time we prepare for the fast of the Great Lent (this is the most important fasting season in the church year in the Eastern Orthodox Church that starts the Clean Monday) but also we have fun and celebrate with the carnival events!

The Thursday of the second week of Triodion is called Tsiknopempti, because on this day all the houses prepare meat as their meal, meat cooked or barbecued, so they make a cloud of smoke (tsikna in Greek). This cloud of smoke gave the day its name!

We do not know the origin of the custom, but we believe it comes from the dedicated to god Dionysus feasts of the ancient Greeks and Romans, which survived after the spread of Christianity. In fact, carnival events start on Tsiknopempti and end with Clean Monday.

There are some similar celebrations in Germany (Schmutziger Donnerstag) and in New Orleans of the United States, which are combined with carnival events.