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CHALCEIA - KHALKEIA - ΧΑΛΚΕΙΑ
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KHALKEIA FESTIVAL

The Khalkeia (Chalceia, Χαλκεία) is a festival of Íphaistos (Hephaestus, Ἥφαιστος), the Divine Coppersmith, who created the form of the universe and the palaces of the Gods. The name of the festival is derived from χαλκός, the ancient Greek word for copper. The holiday may have had a special association with the metalworkers and smiths (χαλκεῖς). It is celebrated on the last day of the Attic month of Pyanæpsióhn (Pyanepsion, Πυανεψιών).

The Khalkeia is a festival of the workers. It is an early example of a Labor Day or a May Day, a day set aside to honor the ordinary laborer. Hence it was called pándimos (pandêmos, πάνδημος), for all the people. In very ancient times, the original name for the festival was the Ærgáneia (Erganeia, Ἐργάνεια), which means “work day,” from ἔργον “work.”

The Khalkeia is also a celebration of Goddess Athiná (Athena, Ἀθηνᾶ) who is called by the epithet Ægáni (Erganë, Ἐργάνη), the worker. The warp for the pǽplos (peplos or garment, πέπλος) woven for the statue of Athiná Poliás (Athena Protector of the City, Ἀθηνᾶ Πολιάς) was set on the loom the day of the Khalkeia. This day was almost nine months before the Panathínaia (
PanathênaeaΠαναθήναια), the great PanHellenic festival for the Goddess at Athens. The pǽplos was preserved by priestesses along with the Arriphóri (Arrephoroi, Ἀρρηφόροι), little girls who carried the symbols of the Goddess. Work on this sacred garment was initiated by special individuals dedicated to the service of Athiná; it was then continued by the Ærgastínai (Ergastinai or Workers, Ἐργαστίναι) who wove it and decorated it beautifully. 

Athiná and Íphaistos share interest in crafts and skills and they are allied in various ways with each other. A statue of the Goddess stood next to one of Íphaistos in his temple above the Athenian agorá (ἀγορά). The following quotations demonstrate shared characteristics:

Orphic fragment 178. σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Κρατύλου Πλάτωνος b. c (21, 13 Pasqu.):

ἥδε γὰρ ἀθανάτων προφερεστάτη ἐστὶν ἁπασέων ἱστὸν ἐποίχεσθαι ταλασήιά τ' ἔργα πινύσσειν ---

“For she (Ἀθηνᾶ) is the most excellent of all the immortals at setting up the loom and crafting the works of spinning.” (trans. by the author)

Orphic fragment 179. (92) σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Τιμαίου Πλάτωνος 29a (I 327, 23 Diehl):

οἳ Ζηνὶ βροντήν τε πόρον τεῦξάν τε κεραυνόν, πρῶτοι τεκτονόχειρες, ἰδ' Ἥφαιστον καὶ Ἀθήνην δαίδαλα πάντ' ἐδίδαξαν, ὅσ' οὐρανὸς ἐντὸς ἐέργει.

“who (Κύκλωπες) presented to Zefs (Ζεὺς) the thunder, and who made the thunderbolt, the first with hands of craftsmen, who taught Íphaistos (Ἥφαιστος) and Athiná (Ἀθηνᾶ) all the cunning (things) shut up in heaven.” (trans. by the author)

In the Orphic hymn to Athiná, she is called:

τεχνῶν μῆτερ πολύολβε (Orphic Hymn 32.8)

“abundant mother of the arts”

At line 14 she is also called εὑρεσίτεχνος, “inventor of the arts.”

The hymn to Íphaistos says he is τεχνοδίαιτος “living in art” (line 3) and declares him to be an ἐργαστήρ, a “workman” (line 4). In the hymn we supplicate him thus:

αἰεὶ ὅπως χαίρουσιν ἐπ’ ἔργοις ἥμερος ἔλθῃς. (Orphic hymn 66.11)

“Come to us always, gentle one, and make work joyful.” (trans. by the author)

All this to say that the Khalkeia is a festival, not only for the worship of these Gods, but a great celebration of arts, crafts, and the labor of all people.


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.


The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς).


PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek          

 

Transliteration of Ancient Greek          

 

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