One of the things you have to understand about Greek food (apart from the obvious stuff like souvlaki, frappe, koulourakia and all that) is that at least once a year the word “nistisimo” appears almost everywhere. It’s probably Lent, aka Sarakosti.
I already posted the other day on Tsiknopempti, our BBQ Thursday. Then there is the Sunday of Apokreo – very similar to Halloween, but probably a bit more Dionysian in nature – when we dress up, eat, drink, dance and generally go a bit crazy.
The next day is Clean Monday, the start of the Great Lent, 40 days of no animal products whatsoever. Supposedly. Most Greeks don’t fast during Lent anymore. However, I’ve heard it’s quite good for detox to abstain from animal products now and again.
If you ever happen to be walking around a Greek town or village and it seems that there are BBQ smells everywhere chances are it’s probably Tsiknopempti. (It could also be Easter Sunday but in that case the smell is the roasting lamb on a spit so you’ll know quite quickly which is which).
Tsiknopempti comes from the words tsikna (the characteristic bbq meat smell) and Pempti (Thursday). It comes about once a year, about two weeks before Lent starts.