March 04, 2024

Tsiknopempti and Customs throughout Greece

Customs and traditions of Tsiknopepti.

Tsiknopempti is the Thursday of the second week of the Triod, the period when people prepare for the great fast of Lent. Chiknopempti gives households the opportunity to consume in a festive and joyful way the red meat they have left before the fast of Lent.

The reason it is held on Thursday is that the Orthodox Church considers the fasts of Wednesday and Friday to be very important. Thus, the intermediate day between Wednesday and Friday was chosen.

The word "tsiknopepti" comes from the word "tsikna" (the smell of roasted meat) and from the word "Pempti" (Thursday). It is celebrated on Thursday, 11 days before "Kathara Deutera" ("Clean Monday") It is a day of preparation for the great fast of Lent before Easter. A preparation that lies in trying to experience the coming days of Great Lent.

Tsiknopepti customs throughout Greece

Apart from the traditional roasting of meats, each region of Greece has its own customs and traditions for Tsiknopepti.

  • In Corfu, the so-called "Corfiat Petegoletsia" takes place. The word Petegoletsia means gossip. It takes place on the evening of Tsiknopepti, in the Piazza near the "Kukounara" location of Corfu.
  • In Patras, we have the custom of Giannoula of Koulouros. Giannoula, according to tradition, believes that Admiral Wilson is coming to marry her and waits for him like a madwoman in the harbor in vain. Thus, on Tsiknopepti the Patrinos dress someone as a bride or put a bride effigy in the harbor and have fun around it.
  • In Serres, big fires are lit in the fire pits and after roasting the meat, they jump over them.
  • In Komotini, housewives almost burn a hen so that the family can eat it on Apokria Sunday. Tradition also states that on Tsiknopempti engaged couples must exchange edible gifts. The man must send the "kurko", i.e. a hen, and the woman baklava and a stuffed hen.
  • In Thebes, the "Vlach wedding" begins, which begins with the consulship of two young people, continues with the wedding, and ends on Clean Monday with the procession of the bride's "proika" and the feast of the parents.
  • In Io, on the evening of Tsiknopepti, masquerades dressed with sheep bells cross the Chora and visit houses and shops.
  • In Poros, tradition forces young people to steal a... spaghetti, which they will put under their pillow to see who they will marry.
  • All over the Peloponnese they slaughter pigs from which they make various other foods, including curd, tsigarides, sausages, gournaloifi and pasto.
  • In Skopelos, the residents make an appointment at Pefkos, to continue the feast and drinking all together.

How will you celebrate Tsiknopempti?

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