A Greek lesson on Απόκριες – CARNIVAL TIME!

A Greek lesson on Απόκριες (a-po-kree-es)- Carnival Time!


Carnival is called Απόκριες, or Apokries, in Greece and is the period before lent begins. It is not just the carnival parade on the final Sunday, but actually a 3 week period leading up to the parade that makes up carnival time in Greece. One of the most celebrated day during the second week of carnival is Τσικνοπέμπτη or Tsiknopempti which translates literally to Burnt Thursday or Smelly Thursday because of the smell of grilled meat in the air. Traditionally large amounts of meat are consumed on this day before the fasting leading up to Easter.

The whole carnival period is a celebration for the whole family and like other countries around the world, the days and nights during carnival are full of parties and parades.

So in keeping with the local traditions, with the sun shining and costumes donned, many of the Sail Ionian team headed to Lefkas town yesterday (Sunday) afternoon to party on the streets as the carnival parade made its way through. Here are a couple of pics, see if you can recognise anyone…!

All in all A LOT of fun, our ears are ringing and I have seen the remnants of glittery hair – and not just among the ladies!

The world carnival comes from the latin ‘carne’ and ‘vale’ which translates to ‘saying goodbye to meat’ – therefore carnival is the last chance to eat meat before the fasting for lent begins on Clean Monday….

Today is Kαθαρά Δευτέρα (ka-tha-ra def-teh-ra) which marks the end of the carnival and the beginning of 7 weeks of fasting to take us up to Greek Easter. Today all over the country, Greeks are holding what is considered to be one of the most important feasts of the year. Traditionally, shellfish, taramosalata (fish roe dip), lagana (a special unleavened bread eaten only on this day), dolmades (vine leaves stuffed with rice) among other dishes are enjoyed as well as the widespread custom of building and flying kites!

So there you go, maybe now you have learnt a little more about the tradition of carnival time in Greece 🙂

Next stop… EASTER! Don’t forget it’s not too late to book your Easter sailing holiday with us, read my blog here on why sailing in April is AWESOME and email me on info@sailionian.com for pricing and availability. 40% off yachts from 7th April – 12th May!

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