Faces + Masks is a photographic series from Greek artist Nikos Vavdinoudis showing at the Hellenic Museum in Melbourne.
This series features modern costumed practices and obscure, fascinating rituals of eight rural villages in Northern Greece that have their origins in ancient Dionysian celebrations.
These ancient festivities are now celebrated during the Christian holiday of Epiphany and the Baptism of Christ and the particular practices of these villages are known for their elaborate, animalistic costumes.
The subsummation of ancient or pagan festivals into newer religious ones is a practice adopted by many religions; thereby allowing the dialogue between the ancient past and the present to remain virtually unbroken.
This months Full Moon coincides with the Hellenic Lenaia festival (11th-13th January 2017).
The Lenaia was a three day festival dedicated to Dionysus and his Maenads.
A ceremonial procession in which attendants danced and carried representations of Dionysus and his symbols (like the thyrsus) occurred along with dramatic competitions.
This is an auspicious time to celebrate with drink, food and dance.
Here is a hymn to Dionysus which you can use as an offering prayer on the day:
Orphic Hymn 30
“Liknitan Bacchus [Liknitos Dionysos], bearer of the vine, thee I invoke to bless these rites divine:
Florid and gay, of nymphs the blossom bright, and of fair Venus [Aphrodite], Goddess of delight,
‘Tis thine mad footsteps with mad nymphs to beat, dancing thro’ groves with lightly leaping feet:
From Jove’s [Zeus’] high counsels nurst by Proserpine [Persephoneia],
and born the dread of all the pow’rs divine:
Come, blessed pow’r, regard thy suppliant’s voice, propitious come, and in these rites rejoice”