Sunday, 9 March 2008


“Everything being a constant carnival, there is no carnival left.” - Victor Hugo
Tyrrhiné Sunday (meaning “Cheese Sunday”) in the Greek Orthodox faith is the last day before the Lenten fasting period and is equivalent to the “Pancake” or “Shrove Tuesday” of the Western churches. On this day, the remaining eggs, milk, butter and cheese products had to be consumed. Nowadays, even meat tends to be consumed, but most people will fast tomorrow.

Note that in the Orthodox faith one has to fast on Sundays during Lent, whereas in the Western churches, fasting is relaxed on Sundays, even during Lent. The Apokriés festival is celebrated on this and the previous two Sundays, but this last Sunday is the Great Apokriá, an enormous carnival with parades and masquerading, eating drinking, carousing and much merry-making. It is the last fling before the great austerity of Lent.
Once the Great Apokriá dawns brightly
Even the staid old maid becomes flighty
Greek Folk Saying

Seeing it’s carnival time in Greece, here is a painting by Nikos Engonopoulos (1907-1985), a surrealist painter and poet whose work always has something festive and carnival-like about it. This is the “Return of Odysseus” (1947).

For more on Engonopoulos, visit the official website managed by his daughter Henrietta.

Happy Carnival, Καλή Αποκριά, Καλή Σαρακοστή, Have a Good Lent!

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