Nicosia Municipality is backing an initiative by shopkeepers in the old town to celebrate Tsiknopempti (smoky Thursday) by announcing free parking at its municipal car parks and at parking meters within the walled city.
It said that the following municipal car parks would be free from 12 noon on Thursday to 3 am on Friday morning: Constanza, D’ Avilla, Solonos, Ledra-Ariadne, Phaneromeni and Pendadaktylos. Parking meters within the walled city will also be free.
The municipality’s free buses will continue their itineraries to the old town from old GSP stadium where parking is also free.
The Association of Shopkeepers of Pedestrianised Nicosia have announced that they will be celebrating Tsiknopempti with zivania and music.
Tsiknopempti, literally Smelly Thursday, or even Charred, Smoky, or Barbeque Thursday “because of the smell of the grilled meat in the air”, is part of the traditional Carnival celebrations in the run-up to Lent in Greece and Cyprus.
The name Tsiknopempti (Τσικνοπέμπτη) comes from the Greek words Tsikna (τσίκνα), which is the smell of roasting meat, and Pempti (Πέμπτη ), which means Thursday.
Tsiknopempti is the second to last Thursday before Lent and on this day, large amounts of meat are traditionally consumed prior to the arrival of Lent, the fasting season leading up to Easter.
In the Greek Orthodox tradition, fasting on Wednesday and Friday is important, therefore Thursday is the best day for Tsiknopempti. Tsiknopempti is celebrated 11 days before Green Monday (or Ash Monday), the first day of the Great Lent and therefore a public holiday in Cyprus. This year it will be on March 2.