FESTIVALS - ΕΟΡΤΑΙ

of Hellenismos, the Ancient Greek Religion

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"And the Gods, pitying the toils which our race is born to undergo, have appointed holy festivals, wherein men alternate rest with labour; and have given them the Muses and Apollo, the leader of the Muses, and Dionysus, to be companions in their revels, that they may improve their education by taking part in the festivals of the Gods, and with their help." (Plátohn [Plato; Gr. Ρλάτων] Nómi [Laws; Gr. Νόμοι] Book II 653 c-d, trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892. We are using  the 1937 Random House edition [New York, NY USA] entitled The Dialogues of Plato, Vol. 2, where this quotation may be found on p. 432.)


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The word festival in ancient Greek is æortí (eortê, ἑορτή; plural is ἑορταί). The word is inclusive of any kind of festivity, but we are using it in its religious sense. There is another word which also means festival, which is iæreia (iereia, ἱερεία), which can also mean an animal sacrifice, as was performed in antiquity, but is inappropriate in modern times. In Ællinismόs (Hellenismos, Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion, the æortí is a special kind of holiday in which we celebrate something connected with a deity, such as their birthday. Sometimes the festivals celebrate a special time in the year, such as the solstices and equinoxes. The festivals always incorporate ritual, but they also involve a joyous celebration which may include a great meal and, hopefully, the participation of friends who love the Gods. There are numerous festivals throughout the year, such that in ancient times, it is believed that in Athens, as one example, most people only worked two-thirds of the year, the other third dedicated to the worship of the Gods.

The Hellenic religious day begins at sun-down. Therefore, it is appropriate to celebrate a holiday any time after sundown, the night before the date of the festival, until dusk the following day.


Adóhnia - Celebrated in spring, around the time of the Christian holiday of Easter (which actually "conceals" the ancient festival) is the Adóhnia (Adonia, Ἀδώνια), a festival of Ádohnis (Adonis, Ἄδωνις), Aphrodíti (Aphrodite, Ἀφροδίτη), and Pærsæphóni (Persephone, Περσεφόνη).

Ælaphivólia - a festival of Ártæmis (Artemis, Ἄρτεμις).

Æpivatírion of Ártæmis – This is the birthday of Ártæmis (Artemis, Ἄρτεμις) and it is celebrated on May 20, the day before Tharyília.

Amphidrómia - (Ἀμφιδρόμια. Etym. ἀμφί "both sides" + δρόμος "walkway. Also called Δρομιάφιον.) The Amphidrómia is the naming festival when a child is first presented to friends and family. It can also be performed when an adult is given a Hellenic name in Ællinismόs (Hellenismos, Ἑλληνισμός) and accepted into the religion and the community.

Anthæstíria is a sacred three-day festival of Diόnysos (Dionysus, Διόνυσος) held, roughly, mid-February.

Arotreia – See Iærǽs Ároti.

Dikhominía - On the Dikhominía (Dichomenia, Διχομηνία), the Full Moon, the Gates of Divinity are open, which means that the divine realm is particularly accessible on these days and in itself is reason enough for ritual. In addition, if a festival occurs near the Dikhominía, it is appropriate to move the ritual to this day.

Elaphebolia - See Ælaphivólia.

Iærǽs Ároti - (The Sacred Ploughings or Hieres Arotoi, Ἱερές Ἄροτοι) The Sacred Ploughings are three mystic festivals of Athiná (Athêna, Ἀθηνᾶ) celebrated in autumn, spring, and summer concerning both literal tillage but more significantly the cultivation of the soul.

Iliostasía - (Heliostasio, ἩλιοστασίαSolstice. The two solstices, December 21 and June 21, are sacred days. On these days the Gates of Divinity are open, meaning that the divine realm is more accessible on such days.

Iliouyænna - (Heliogenna, ΗλιούγενναAt the commencement of the month of Capricorn, just after December 21, we celebrate the birth of the Sun and the dawn of the solar year. In the Southern Hemisphere, this holiday is celebrated just after June 21.

Isimæría (Isêmeriaσημερία, singular) the EquinoxIsmæríai (σημερίαι) is plural: the Equinoxes. The Equinox of September 21 and the Equinox of March 21 are sacred days. On these days the Gates of Divinity are open, meaning that the divine realm is more accessible on such days. See New Year, Religious.

Kárneia - (Carneia, Κάρνεια) a great festival of Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). This holiday is often associated with ancient Sparta and her colonies

Khalkeia - This is the Hellenic Labor Day and a great festival of Íphaistos (Hephaestus, Ἥφαιστος) and Athiná (Athêna, Ἀθηνᾶ).

Krónia - (Cronia, Κρόνια) The Krónia is a festival in honor of Krónos (Cronus, Κρόνος) and Rǽa (Rhea, Ῥέα) held, roughly, mid-July. Traditionally, offerings are made to Krónos, as the father or Zefs (Ζεύς), offerings of cookies in the shape of oxen, made of wheat flour and milk, symbolizing Earth and Water. The cookies are glazed with honey, and libations are made of honey, representing the Aithír (Ether or Aether, Αἰθήρ) of immortality.

Moon, Full - See Pansǽlinos.

Moon, New - See Nouminía.

New Year, Religious – The Equinox on September 21 (regardless of which hemisphere you are in) marks the beginning of the Orphic year and the beginning of the month of Zygós (Libra, Ζυγός) ruled by the Goddess Æstía  (Hestia, Ἑστία).

Nouminía - (Noumenia, Νουμηνία) The Nouminía is the New Moon festival, celebrated on the day of the initial appearance of the Minískos (MêniscusΜηνίσκος), the lunar crescent. It is the first day of the lunar month and, according to Ploutarkhos (Plutarch, Πλούταρχος), the holiest (Ἠθικά Πλουτάρχου 828a). In an interesting story told by Porphýrios (Porphyry, Πορφύριος), the philosopher describes the practice of a certain Klǽarkhos, (CléärchusΚλέαρχος), a most pious man who celebrated Nouminía in the following manner:

"...he diligently sacrificed to them (ed. the Gods) at the proper times in every month at the new moon, crowning and adorning the statues of Hermes and Hecate, and the other sacred images which were left to us by our ancestors and that he also honoured the Gods with frankincense, and sacred wafers and cakes." (On Abstinence From Animal Food Πορφυρίου, Book 2.16, trans.Thomas Taylor, 1823.)

If possible, we do ritual on the Nouminía, and in the body of the ritual we recite the ninth Orphic hymn, To Sælíni (Selene, Σελήνη), the Moon. And we honor her with offerings of cakes and aromatic incense. It is also appropriate to honor Næomínios (Neomênius or Noumênius, Νεομήνιος) Apóllohn and all the Thæí (the Gods, Θεοί) and Íroæs (Heroes, Ἥρωες) with like gifts and frankincense.

Nymphália - a festival of Dimítir.

Ploughings, The Three Sacred - See Iærǽs Ároti.

Poseidæa - a festival of Poseidóhn (Poseidon, Ποσειδῶν)

Pyanǽpsia is a festival, a thanks-offering to Apóllohnwhereby we make the Eiræsióhni (Eiresionê, Εἰρεσιώνηto hang above our door and protect our family and home

Skirophória - (Scirophoria, Σκιροφόρια) The Skirophória is the summer festival of the three Iærǽs Ároti, the Sacred Plowing holidays. See Iærǽs Ároti.

Thæogamía commemorates the wedding of Íra (Hera, Ἥρα) and Zefs (Ζεὺς), the union of Earth and Water (See Orphic Materialism) celebrated in the month of Kriós (Crius or Aquarius, Κριός). 

Tharyília - The birthday of Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων) is celebrated the day after that of his twin sister Ártæmis (Artemis, Ἄρτεμις). Both holidays are discussed in the article online. 

Twelve Days of Diónysos - In the middle of winter we have a series of holidays just after the Æliougenna, beginning on the eve of Dec. 25, the Epiphany of Ælefthæréfs Diónysos (Διόνυσος Ἐλευθερεύς), Diónysos the Liberator.



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, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) 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, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, 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.

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.

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: 

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