Carnival Dance Show on Tsiknopemti / Video

Dance, music, and barbecues on Smoked Thursday in Heraklion

 Every year, in early spring, the Greeks celebrate Apokries, the season of Carnival in preparation for the Great Lent and closely linked to the calendar date of the feast of Lord's Resurrection. Apokries consists of three themed weeks of celebration. These weeks are, in order: Prophoní (Προφωνή, "Preannouncement Week"), practically the run-up to Carnival, Kreatiní (Κρεατινή, "Meat Week"), the climax of Carnival, and Tiriní (Τυρινή, "Cheese Week"), after which the Easter Fast begins, with a new holiday called “Kathará Deftéra (Clean Monday).

 An important moment of the "meat week" is Tsiknopempti, translated as "Smelly Thursday / Charred Thursday / Smoky Thursday", the day when massive amounts of grilled meat or fried are consumed and public parties are organized in the open air. The custom is lost in the mists of history, without knowing its true origin. It is speculated, however, that it comes from the Bacchic feasts of the ancient Greeks and Romans who survived the time and intertwined with the rituals of Christianity, being today integrated into various forms in the culture of the Balkan Christian peoples.

 Tsiknopemti is one of the busiest days for butchers in Greece, and in Greek households and traditional restaurants, there is great agitation in the preparation of favorite dishes of pork, lamb, beef, goat, or any other meat at choice. From the day of Tsiknopemti until the beginning of the longest and most austere fast of the year there are only 11 days left, so the Greeks like to celebrate this day in abundance and sometimes with culinary excesses.

 In Crete also, clouds of smoke with enticing aromas rise over the courtyards of houses, streets, villages, and towns, accompanied by music and merriment. On the evening of Tsiknopemti, according to tradition, city dwellers and visiting tourists gather in the old center to enjoy performances offered by young professionals, amateur artists, and students of dance schools, with the support of local officials.

 We happily share with you our nice video material from the Tsiknopemti party in Heraklion!

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