When we celebrate Tsiknopemti this year

Generous for a three-day weekend, the current year 2022 will greatly please the inhabitants of Greece.

In the middle of the penultimate week before Lent, on Thursday, the whole of Greece is filled with the smells of grilled meat. The taverns are packed to the limit, meat smells are also heard from the courtyards of private houses. This day is called Myasoed in Russia, and Tsiknopempti in Greece.

February is in the yard, and besides the approaching date, Valentine’s Day (02.14), which, frankly, did not really take root in Greece, already at the end of the month, 24.02, everyone will celebrate the “well-fed” holiday of Tsiknopemti (Meat-Eater) on a grand scale . And there, you see, Clean Monday is just around the corner, spring, and behind it – the long-awaited summer.

So:

Thursday 24 February: Tsiknopemti (Τσικνοπέμπτη) Monday 7 March: Shrovetide Monday (three days). Friday 25 March: Anniversary of the Revolution of 1821 (three days). Friday 22 April: Good Friday (four days). Sunday 24 April: Easter (four days). Monday 25 April: Easter Monday (four days). Sunday 1 May: May Day (probably “transferred” from the Sunday that falls on the holiday, resulting in three days of rest). June 13 Monday: Holy Spirit Day (three days). Monday 15 August: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (three days). Friday 28 October: “OHI” Anniversary (three days). Sunday 25 December: Christmas. Monday 26 December: Second day of Christmas (three days).

About the holiday – Tsiknopemti

In the middle of the penultimate week before Lent, on Thursday, the whole of Greece is filled with the smells of grilled meat. The taverns are packed to the limit, meat smells are also heard from the courtyards of private houses. This day is called Myasoed in Russia, and Tsiknopempti in Greece.

According to the Orthodox Greek “calendar” this is meat, or “burnt” Thursday. Since we are talking not just about meat, but about meat baked on coals, with smoke, soot, with the fragrant smell of fried fat – tsikna, hence the name of the day – tsiknopempti (pempti – Thursday).

On this day, everyone eats meat, drinks wine, has fun, sings and dances. From this day in Greece, the celebration enters its apogee carnival – an analogue of the Russian Shrovetide. In the Orthodox tradition, this day is, as it were, a preparatory day before fasting – eat meat for the future. From Thursday, meat consumption begins to decline and the last day you can eat it is Apocreos Sunday. Then Monday comes Cheese Week”Tyrofagu”. Holiday depends on Easterso its date changes every year. In 2022, Easter falls on April 24th.

The custom of the Meat Eater (Tsiknopempti) goes back centuries, and no one knows for sure its origin. However, there is an assumption that the holiday has come down to our days from the Bacchic festivals of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Different places in Greece have their own customs for this holiday. So, in Serros they jump over the fire, in Komotini it is customary to marry on this day, and couples exchange edible gifts (hence the proverb έρωτας περνάει από το στομάχι – love lies through the stomach). In Heraklion, residents dressed in carnival costumes roam the streets and squares of the city, singing and dancing. In Komotini, the betrothed send gifts to each other: the groom gives the bride a chicken, the bride gives the groom a baklava. In the Peloponnese, it was on this day that a pig was slaughtered, fattened for a whole year in each family. It was butchered and prepared with lard, sausages, jelly, pasto – a local type of stew, which was stored in clay pots, filled with melted fat – and all this was eaten all year round.

So that you do not get the impression that the Greeks only drink, eat and celebrate, I will say that this Meat Thursday will help many people to forget the cruel reality for at least a few hours – no one has canceled the crisis.

According to the Orthodox Greek “calendar” this is meat, or “burnt” Thursday. Since we are talking not just about meat, but about meat baked on coals, with smoke, soot, with the fragrant smell of fried fat – tsikna, hence the name of the day – tsiknopempti (pempti – Thursday).

On this day, everyone eats meat, drinks wine, has fun, sings and dances. From this day in Greece, the celebration enters its apogee carnival – an analogue of the Russian Shrovetide. In the Orthodox tradition, this day is, as it were, a preparatory day before fasting – eat meat for the future. From Thursday, meat consumption begins to decline and the last day you can eat it is Apocreos Sunday. Then Monday comes Cheese Week”Tyrofagu”. Holiday depends on Easterso its date changes every year. In 2022, Easter falls on April 24th.

The custom of the Meat Eater (Tsiknopempti) goes back centuries, and no one knows for sure its origin. However, there is an assumption that the holiday has come down to our days from the Bacchic festivals of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Different places in Greece have their own customs for this holiday. So, in Serros they jump over the fire, in Komotini it is customary to marry on this day, and couples exchange edible gifts (hence the proverb έρωτας περνάει από το στομάχι – love lies through the stomach). In Heraklion, residents dressed in carnival costumes roam the streets and squares of the city, singing and dancing. In Komotini, the betrothed send gifts to each other: the groom gives the bride a chicken, the bride gives the groom a baklava. In the Peloponnese, it was on this day that a pig was slaughtered, fattened for a whole year in each family. It was butchered and prepared with lard, sausages, jelly, pasto – a local type of stew, which was stored in clay pots, filled with melted fat – and all this was eaten all year round.

So that you do not get the impression that the Greeks only drink, eat and celebrate, I will say that this Meat Thursday will help many people to forget the cruel reality for at least a few hours – no one has canceled the crisis.



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