Greece’s Carnival season, known as “Apokries,” is a period which traditionally begins ten weeks before Greek Orthodox Easter and culminates on the weekend before “Clean Monday,” (Ash Monday) the first day of Lent, which is on March 7 this year.
This weekend (5-6 March for this year) carnival celebrations in Greece reach their climax, a feast of fun celebrated all over the country with masquerades and parties.
“Tsiknopemti” (which is tomorrow this year) is part of the traditional celebrations of Apókries. The celebration, normally translated as “Smelly Thursday”, “Charred Thursday”, or “Smoky Thursday”, centers on the consumption of large amounts of grilled and roasted meats.
The Greek name Apokries means abstention from meat, because after that, the period of Easter Lent begins.
The characteristic of Carnival is disguising and wearing costumes and masks that offer anonymity and freedom of expression. This festival dates back to Dionysos, the ancient Greek god of wine, fun and fertility. Even today, in certain local carnivals, like that of Tyrnavos, fertility and the phallus are celebrated, and related songs are sung. One of the biggest carnival that is organized in Greece is that of Patras. Other popular carnivals are that of Xanthi, Rethymno, Naoussa and Kozani.
We enjoy teaching Greek, while discovering together the culture of our country, learning its history and chatting with locals, as we come into contact with the Greek heritage, nature, art and entertainment.