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FESTIVALS - ΕΟΡΤΑΙ

of Hellenismos, the Ancient Greek Religion

HellenicGods.org

"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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FESTIVAL in ancient Greek is Æortí (Gr. Ἑορτή, ΕΟΡΤΗ. Plural is Æortai; Gr. Ἑορταί, ΕΟΡΤΑΙ). 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; Gr. ἱερεία), which can also mean a sacrifice, as was performed in antiquity but is inappropriate in modern times. In Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion, virtually all festivals were connected with the worship of the Gods. The Æortí is a special kind of holiday in which we celebrate something connected with a deity, such as their birthday, or sometimes we celebrate a special time in the year, such as the Solstice or Equinox. 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. The practice of seeing midnight as the beginning of the day is an idea we inherited from the Romans. In our religion, however, it is appropriate to celebrate a holiday at sundown, the night before the date of the festival or any time after sundown until dusk the following day.

Below are links to pages with essays giving information regarding some of the most famous of the these:


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


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


Amphidrómia - (Gr. Ἀμφιδρόμια, ΑΜΦΙΔΡΟΜΙΑ. 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, and accepted into the religion and the community.


Amvrosía - (Ἀμβροσία, ΑΜΒΡΟΣΙΑ) The Amvrosía is a festival of Diónysos. (Etymologicum Magnum 564.13)


Anthæstíria is a sacred three-day festival of Diόnysos held, roughly, mid-February:

Anthæstíria


Arotreia – See Iærǽs Ároti.


Dikhominía - On the Dikhominía (Dichomenia; Gr. 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.


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


Iliostásio - (Gr. Ηλιοστάσιο) SolsticeIliostásia (Gr. Ηλιοστάσια) is plural: the Solstices. 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.


IliouyænnaAt the commencement of the month of Capricorn, December 21, we celebrate the birth of the Sun and the dawn of the solar year.


Isimæría (Gr. σημερία, singular) the EquinoxIsmæríai (Gr. 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.


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


Krónia - (Cronia; Gr. Κρόνια, ΚΡΟΝΙΑ) The Krónia is a festival in honor of Krónos and Rǽa (Rhea; Gr. Ῥέα) held, roughly, mid-July. Traditionally, offerings are made to Krónos, as the father or Zefs (Zeus; Gr. 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; Gr. Αἰθήρ) of immortality.


Moon, Full - See Pansǽlinos.


Moon, New - See Nouminía.


New Year, Religious – The Equinox on September 21 marks the beginning of the Orphic year and the beginning of the month of Zygós (Libra; Gr. Ζυγός) ruled by the Goddess Æstía  (Hestia; Gr. Ἑστία).


Nouminía - (Noumenia; Gr. Νουμηνία, ΝΟΥΜΗΝΙΑ) The Nouminía is the New Moon festival, celebrated on the day of the initial appearance of the Minískos (Gr. Μηνίσκος), the lunar crescent. It is the first day of the lunar month and, according to Ploutarkhos (Plutarch; Gr. Πλούταρχος), the holiest (Ithiká [Moralia; Gr. Ἠθικά] 828a). In an interesting story told by Porphýrios (Porphyry; Gr. Πορφύριος), the philosopher describes the practice of a certain Klǽarkhos, (Gr. Κλέαρχος), 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." (Porphýrios On Abstinence From Animal Food, Book 2.16, trans.Thomas Taylor, 1823. (London, England) p. 56)

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


Panathínaia - (Panathenaea; Gr. Παναθήναια) The Panathínaia is a great festival of Athiná (Athena; Gr. Ἀθηνᾶ) celebrated towards the end of the Attic month of Ækatomvaióhn (Hekatombaion; Gr. Ἑκατομβαιών), in July or August depending upon the year. While we who live outside of Greece can honor the Goddess on this day in some way if we wish, the Panathínaia is fundamentally an Athenian festival.


Phaliphória - (Gr. Φαλληφόρια, ΦΑΛΛΗΦΟΡΙΑ) The Phaliphória is a festival of Diónysos held during the brumal month of Poseidæóhn (Poseidon; Gr. Ποσειδεών. Dec./Jan.). A herald bearing a staff with a leather phallus at its peak heads the procession of ivy-crowned participants wearing masks or having painted their faces, drinking the new wine. Ref. Aristophánis (Gr. Ἀριστοφάνης) Akarneis (The Acharnians; Gr. Ἀχαρνεῖς) 241-262.


Ploughings, The Three Sacred - See Iærǽs Ároti.


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



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


The Thæogamía commemorates the wedding of Íra (Hera) and Zefs (Zeus), the union of Earth and Water (See Mystic Materialism) celebrated in the month of Aquarius:


Tharyília - The birthday of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων) is celebrated the day after that of his twin sister Ártæmis (Artemis; Gr. Ἄρτεμις). These holidays are discussed in this article:

Tharyília


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, Diónysos the Liberator:




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 kosmogonic 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 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.

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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