THARYÍLIA - ΘΑΡΓHΛΙΑ
AND THE BIRTHDAY OF ARTEMIS
Tharyília - (Thargelia, Θαργήλια, ΘΑΡΓHΛΙΑ. Pronounced: thar-YEE-lee-ah)
Tharyília is the festival honoring the yænǽthlia (genethlia, γενέθλια) or birthday, of Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). A festival to honor the birthday of a God is called an Æpivatírion (Epibaterion, Ἐπιβᾰτήριον), therefore, Tharyília is the Æpivatírion of Apóllôn.
Tharyília is observed in the ancient Athenian month of Tharyilióhn (Thargelion, Θαργηλιών), on the seventh day, for which the God is known as Ævdomayænís (Ebdomagenes, Ἑβδομᾱγενής), meaning born on the seventh day. Because of this, Tharyília is also called the Ævdomaion (Ebdomaion, Ἑβδομαῖον), the Seventh-Day-Festival, although this name (Ævdomaion) can also be applied to the seventh day of any ancient Athenian month because each seventh day was dedicated to Apóllôn.
Tharyília occurs in springtime. There is disagreement as to which particular day it falls on the modern calendar. In our tradition, Tharyília always falls on May 21, the first day of Dídymi (Gemini, Δίδυμοι), which is the ninth month of the Mystery year, and this entire month is under the dominion of Apóllôn.
The Æpivatírion of Ártæmis (Artemis, Ἄρτεμις), the festival celebrating her birthday , is celebrated the day before Tharyília because, according to the mythology, she was born one day before her brother. Consequently, Tharyília is often thought as a 2-day holiday, but in reality, Tharyília is the birthday-celebration of Apóllôn only; the birthday of Artæmis is a separate, though related, holiday.
To summarize, May 20th is the birthday-celebration of Ártæmis. Apóllôn's birthday on occurs May 21st, and it alone is called Tharyília. While they are separate festivals, since they occur almost together, they are often thought of as one festival.
The Purification of the City
In ancient Athens, before the birthday-celebration in honor of Ártæmis, there was the purification of the pólis (polis = city, πόλις). The pharmakí (pharmakoi, φαρμακόι), "scapegoats," one man and one woman representing the evil which had developed over the previous year in the pólis, were first symbolically feasted and then driven out.
This is an ancient Athenian custom and to celebrate it in a modern context is purely a reconstruction. The pharmakí can be represented in various ways, perhaps as images of made of cookies. These "scapegoats" can be thought of as our accumulated faults and vices; they may be symbolically "driven out" by burning on a fire, casting into a stream, or thrown beyond one's property.
There is a traditional bread made from barley prepared for this festival called the Tháryilos (Θάργηλος). Alternately you can make a sweetened barley porridge. Soak a cup of barley for three hours in three cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for one hour covered. Now add raisins, dates, nuts, and a little honey. Mix and simmer for another quarter hour. When you are ready to eat, you may add a little milk. The Tháryilos is eaten by the participants and some is offered to the Gods.
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At the Tharyília, it would be quite appropriate to recite the Homeric hymn to Dílion (Delian, Δήλιον) Apóllôn, as the hymn tells the story of the birth of the God. A printable pdf file of the hymn is available here:
Festivals of Apóllôn:
GLOSSARY FOR THIS PAGE
Ævdomaion - (Ebdomaion; Gr. Ἑβδομαῖον, ΕΒΔΟΜΑΙΟΝ) Ævdomaion is the monthly (ed. seventh-day) festival of Apóllôn.
Ævdomayænís - (Ebdomagenes; Gr. Ἑβδομᾱγενής, ΕΒΔΟΜΑΓΕΝΗΣ) Ævdomayænís means born on the seventh day.
Æpivatírion - (Epibaterion; Gr. Ἐπιβᾰτήριον, ΕΠΙΒΑΤΗΡΙΟΝ) Æpivatírion is a festival honoring the birthday of a God.
Dídymi - (Didymoi; Gr. Δίδυμοι, ΔΙΔΥΜΟΙ) Dídymi is Gemini, the ninth month of the Mystery year, and this entire month is under the dominion of Apóllôn.
Gemini - See Dídymi.
Genethlia - See Yænǽthlia.
Pharmakí - (pharmakoi; Gr. φαρμακόι, ΦΑΡΜΑΚΟΙ) The pharmakí were the scapegoats for the purification ceremony performed before commencing the birthday-festival of Artæmis in ancient Athens. These were a man and a woman who were feasted and then cast out of the city. The pharmakí must have represented the evil which had accumulated in the polis during the previous year. The name comes from φάρμακον, which is the word for a healing drug, so it was believed that casting the scapegoats out of the city would heal it of its ills.
Tharyília - (Thargelia; Gr. Θαργήλια, ΘΑΡΓHΛΙΑ) Tharyília is the birthday festival of Apóllôn celebrated on the seventh day of the ancient Attic month of Tharyilióhn, which, in our community, is always observed on May 21, the first day of Gemini, which is under the dominion of the God.
Tharyilióhn - (Thargelion; Gr. Θαργηλιών, ΘΑΡΓΗΛΙΩΝ) Tharyilióhn is the eleventh month of the ancient Attic calendar.
Tháryilos - (thargelos; Gr. Θάργηλος, ΘΑΡΓΗΛΟΣ) Tháryilos was the traditional barley-loaf bread cooked for the birthday festival of Apóllôn
Yænǽthlia - (genethlia; Gr. γενέθλια, ΓΕΝΕΘΛΙΑ) Yænǽthlia is the word for birthday.
The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic 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.
This logo 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 Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).
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