Tsiknopempti is a feast that takes place on Thursday (Pempti / Πέμπτη) of the 2nd week of Carnival in Greece, a period when members of the Orthodox Church are theoretically allowed to consume meat before Sarakosti (the forty days of Lent before Easter).
“Tsikna” (Τσικνα) means the smell of grilled meat. It’s a very popular, family-friendly day that Greeks celebrate even when they are abroad, because it’s a chance to go out with friends or have a big party at home where all kinds of grilled meats will be served. If you can not do barbecue this day, it is also possible to cook the meat in the pan at home or to make other recipes (such as tiganites for example).
The week after Tsiknopempti is called Tyrofagou, “the week of cheese”. During this week, the Greeks eat mainly dairy products and eggs, meat being banned from meals until the end of Lent.