Cyprus, Nicosia

What is Tsiknopempti, or Smoky Thursday in Cyprus

Updated: 2 months ago

This strange-sounding holiday's name consists of two words: tsikna (τσίκνα) - the smell of smoke, and pempti (πέμπτη) - Thursday. In other words, Smoky Thursday.

Дымный Четверг на Кипре

What is this holiday?

Roughly speaking, it is a holiday of indulgence, but not for vegetarians. It is observed 11 days before the first day of Great Lent before Easter, so traditionally, on this day, one can indulge in meat to their heart's content. Additionally, Wednesday and Friday are fasting days in the Orthodox tradition of Cyprus.

When is it celebrated?

The holiday does not have a specific date in the Gregorian calendar; it is observed 11 days before Clean Monday. In 2024, Smoky Thursday falls on March 7th, and in 2025, it falls on February 20th.

How do Cypriots celebrate it?

On this day, meat is grilled everywhere in Cyprus - in establishments as well as private homes. Cypriots joke that on this day, you can't see the ground from space or an airplane, and they urge tourists not to be alarmed - it's not a fire, it's someone grilling ribs!

Frequently Asked Questions about holidays in Cyprus

Is Smoky Thursday an official holiday?

No, Smoky Thursday is not an official public holiday. It is not a day off, but it is celebrated nationwide nonetheless.

Are there any equivalents of this holiday in other countries?

Yes, this Christian holiday can be found in all European countries and in the United States. Everywhere, it is associated with the desire to indulge before Great Lent and may have different names. For example, in France, it's called Mardi Gras, and in the United States, it's Fat Tuesday, which all translate to "Fat Thursday."

Which holidays in Cyprus are public holidays?

Primarily, these are national holidays, both secular and religious. We have prepared a list of official holidays in Cyprus for your convenience.

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