Last Thursday was a day of celebration in Greece. Nothing miraculous happened, it was just “Tsikonpempti” which literally means “The Thursday that the burning meat smell is in the air”! “Tsikna” stands for smell of burning meat and “Pempti” means Thursday.
It’s the day during the carnival season that several portions of meat and other grisy delicacies are grilled on charcoal until they have a strong odour!
This happens every second Thursday before the Lent and it’s similar to Fat Thursday in Germany and Poland, Giovedì Grasso in Italy, Jueves Lardero in Spain. It’s also equivalent to Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras.
Not just every house but practically every town are full of the “tsikna” smell. It is the day the vegetarians hate the most, alongside with Easter Sunday!
Every kind of meat is being cooked over hot coals. It is a great occasion for social gathering in a taverna night out or dinner parties with friends and family that usually last until late at night.
For us this year’s Tsiknopempti menu included “souvlakia” (pork and chicken kabobs and pita gyros.
And at the end of the night we wish to each other “Kai tou chronou” which means “Let’s celebrate next year too”!