Friday, March 4, 2011

Mardi Gras - Greek Style!

Of course, you know about New Orleans, and Rio de Janeiro and their extravagant and exotic Mardi Gras celebrations coming up! BUT, the GREEKS have been doing CARNIVAL longer than anyone - in fact, they invented it! OPA!

While the Greek Carnival is just as festive and exciting as Mardi Gras, there are a few differences that occur in Greece. First of all, they use the Greek Orthodox Easter Calendar - which usually differs from the Western Calendar.

Carnival ( or ApokriĆ©s meaning "saying goodbye to meat") begins on a Saturday evening with the opening of the Triodion - beginning of Pre-Lentin (40 days before the beginning of Lent). They do not recognize “Fat Tuesday” in Greece - instead they celebrate “Burnt Thursday” (11 days before Lent) feasting on a variety of grilled meats.

The weekend following (“Tsiknopempti Weekend”) continues with many parties and other events to “Meat-Eating Sunday”, when is the “last day” for meat eating. This is a very popular day at most Greek restaurants, like Ziziki’s Restaurant and Ziziki’s Taverna.

But, a week later on the last weekend of the Carnival season is the Main Carnival Weekend. Patras holds the largest carnival in Greece and filled with concerts, masked balls, parades with amazing floats and many special events for children over 3 fun-filled days. On Saturday, there is a special service for the dead in Orthodox churches and ends on “Cheese-eating Sunday” or “Tyrofagos” - you know the Greeks LOVE their cheese. The Great Lent begins on "Clean Monday” which marks the end of the Greek Carnival.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t continue the celebration - the party is always going on here at one of our Zizikis locations. Come in and see us sometime!

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