As in many part of the world the Greek food is an important element of every type of celebration, from births, weddings to major holidays like Christmas and Easter. Today there is a special day called Tsiknopempti that is an annual tradition in Greece of meat eating before lent and fasting before Easter begins. The word Tsiknopempti comes from two other words 'tsikna' (the smell of burnt and grilled meat) and 'Pempti' (Thursday in Greek) and is celebrated on the Thursday, which is 11 days before Clean Monday (the start of Easter fasting). Easter is the most sacred observance in the Greek Orthodox faith and follows close with family tradition. Preparations and customs remain some of the most traditional in modern Greek life, mainly in villages and the islands.
Meat eating for celebration has its origins back to ancient Greece.
Beef was very expensive, so it was rarely eaten. Beef and pork were only available to poor people during religious festivals. It was during the festivals that cows or pigs were sacrificed to the gods, and the meat was cooked and handed out to the public. Fish was the main source of protein in the ancient Greek diet. Therefore sailing and fishing has always been important in this region of the world and created the history of Greek Shipping (my other passion). The ancient Greek diet consisted of foods that were easily raised in the rocky terrain of Greece’s landscape. Breakfast was eaten just after sunrise and consisted of bread dipped in wine. Lunch was again bread along with some olives, figs, cheese or dried fish. Supper was the main meal of each day. It was eaten near sunset. It consisted of vegetables, fruit, fish, and possibly honey cakes. Sugar was unknown to ancient Greeks, so natural honey was used as a sweetener. During the summer fruits and vegetables were readily available. Fruits were eaten in all possible manners, while vegetables were preferable well dressed. For the winter they dry out and preserve them. Another way of preserving a whole variety of fruits is to put them in honey, carefully ensuring that the fruit does not touch other fruits.
So the conclusion is that ancient Greeks were mainly vegetarians.. something that is the exception today in the modern Greek community.
We can explain why Greeks are carnivores in many different ways but it doesn’t really matter. Today we have the choice and the knowledge to treat our bodies in the best possible way, the only element missing is time away from our hectic schedules for new ideas and creation. So therefore, in this respect we are trying to do some work for you.. so we hope you will keep reading our blog :)