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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Greece Series at GreekPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Greek holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 5 - “Fat Thursday.”
Fat Thursday or [Τσικνοπέμπτη] is traditionally a day where grilled meat is consumed in large quantities. If you find yourself in Greece on Fat Thursday, you won’t be able to mistake what day it is, because the smell of burning fat being roasted on grills is everywhere! The event is celebrated 59 days before Easter or [Πάσχα]
In this lesson, you will learn how Greek people celebrate Fat Thursday in Greece.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Why do Greek people eat meat on Thursday, as you see in the name Fat Thursday, as opposed to other weekdays?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The origin of Fat Thursday is not verified, but it's thought that it comes from the Dionysian and bacchanal festivals of the ancient Greeks and Romans. This is why many special events are often accompanied by mocking songs, teasing, speaking in a vulgar manner, and sexual innuendo. In many regions, pigs, or [χοίροι] are slaughtered, while outdoor grills are set up everywhere from early in the morning, continuously churning out exquisite tidbits and traditional skewered meat.
There is plenty of meat eating and wine drinking on this day, as it's the last chance for rowdiness and meat consumption before Lent, or [Σαρακοστή], the period of fasting. After Fat Thursday, the next opportunity for partying doesn't occur until Easter, a whole 59 days later, which is why Greeks put so much effort into making it an enjoyable event.
Meats eaten on this day are cooked over charcoals, or [κάρβουνα], which strongly emits the smell of burning fat, hence the name "Fat Thursday".
Now it's time to answer our quiz question -
Why do Greek people eat meat on Thursday, as you see in the name Fat Thursday, as opposed to other weekdays?
For the Orthodox Church, or [Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία], the fasts of Wednesday and Friday are important. Because Thursday lies between these two days, it is considered the most suitable day for revelry.
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have similar traditions in your country?
Leave us your comments on GreekPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.


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GreekPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Do you have similar traditions in your country?

GreekPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 10:09 AM
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Hi Elisabeth,

This is one of the differences between the holidays observed in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the holidays observed in Western Christianity.

I like Fat Thursday but Fat Tuesday also sounds good to me! I wouldn't say no to pancakes?!


Team GreekPod101.com

Friday at 02:44 AM
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We have Fat Tuesday - lately known as «pancake day» - but I’ve never heard about Fat Thursday before