Panathenaia Festival

From the 17th to 30th of July, the Hellenic Panathenaia festival is observed.

The Panathenaia is a festival which is dedicated to the city of Athens.

Historically celebrations included an all night service, a race involving torches (where only Athenians could participate) and a meal for all citizens paid for by the city containing meats.  This was the early beginnings of the Olympic games with the event being open to all Greeks every forth year around 566 BCE.

This is an auspicious time to honour Athena with food, drink (a communal meal), offerings (such as olive oil) and prayers.

Here is a prayer you can use to honour Athena on this day:

“To Athena

I begin to sing of Pallas Athena, the glorious goddess, bright-eyed, inventive, unbending of heart, pure virgin, saviour of cities, courageous, Tritogeneia. Wise Zeus himself bare her from his awful head, arrayed in warlike arms of flashing gold, and awe seized all the gods as they gazed. But Athena sprang quickly from the immortal head and stood before Zeus who holds the aegis, shaking a sharp spear: great  Olympus began to reel horribly at the might of the bright-eyed goddess, and earth round about cried fearfully, and the sea was moved and tossed with dark waves, while foam burst forth suddenly: the bright Son of Hyperion stopped his swift-footed horses a long while, until the maiden Pallas Athena had stripped the heavenly armour from her immortal shoulders. And wise Zeus was glad.

And so hail to you, daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis! Now I will remember you and another song as well.”

(C) T. Georgitsis 

 

Synoikia Festival

On the 9th – 10th of July, the Hellenic Synoikia festival is observed.

The Synoikia is a festival which is dedicated to Zeus Phratrios and the unification of Attica by Theseus.

This is an auspicious time to make a sacrificial offering to Eirene who was also honoured at this time.

 

(C) T. Georgitsis 

Kronia Festival

On the 6th of July, the Hellenic Kronia festival is observed.

The Kronia is a festival which is dedicated to  Kronos.

This is an auspicious time to make a sacrificial offering to Kronos to recognize him as the God of the grain harvest.

Here is a prayer you can use to honour Kronos on this day:

Orphic Hymn to Kronos

Etherial father, mighty Titan, hear, great fire of Gods and men, whom all revere:
Endu’d with various council, pure and strong, to whom perfection and decrease belong.
Consum’d by thee all forms that hourly die, by thee restor’d, their former place supply;
The world immense in everlasting chains, strong and ineffable thy pow’r contains
Father of vast eternity, divine, O mighty Saturn [Kronos], various speech is thine: 
Blossom of earth and of the starry skies, husband of Rhea, and Prometheus wife.
Obstetric Nature, venerable root, from which the various forms of being shoot;
No parts peculiar can thy pow’r enclose, diffus’d thro’ all, from which the world arose,
O, best of beings, of a subtle mind, propitious hear to holy pray’rs inclin’d;
The sacred rites benevolent attend, and grant a blameless life, a blessed end.

(C) T. Georgitsis 

 

Faces and Masks – Nikos Vavdinoudis

 

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.

For more information go here:  http://www.hellenic.org.au/

 

 

Oneiroi – Bill Henson

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ONEIROI is a photographic installation by Bill Henson that will be housed permanently at the Hellenic Museum.

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The photographs that make up ONEIROI incorporate priceless treasures from the award winning Benaki collection, Gods, Myths & Mortals. The exhibition represents over 8,000 years of Greek history and culture and comprises pieces of exquisite beauty and immense cultural significance.

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Henson’s unique style uses composition, chiaroscuro and the human form to create powerful, narrative driven works of art.

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For more information go here:  http://www.hellenic.org.au/

 

 

Athenian New Year

The 25th of June marks the Athenian New Year.

Although no official festivals occurred during this time in Ancient Greece, sacrifices were made to Athena and Zeus for protection for the coming of the new year.

This is an auspicious time to clean and revamp your shrines and finish up projects before the start of the new year

(C) T. Georgitsis

Prometheia Festival

On the 17th of June, the Prometheia festival is observed.

The Prometheia festival is a modern Hellenic festival in honor of the gift of fire given to mankind by Prometheus.

This is an auspicious time to light the flames of your hearth/shrine/altar.

(C) T. Georgitsis

 

Dipolieia/Bouphonia Festival

 

 

On the 9th of June, the Hellenic Dipolieia/Bouphonia festival is observed.

The Dipolieia/Bouphonia is a festival which is dedicated to  Zeus.

The clergy would ritualistically sacrifice an ox for the desecration of Zeus’s alter at the Acropolis.  Afterwards the ox would be eaten during a feast as part of the festivities.

This is an auspicious time to make an offering to Zeus to recognize him as the king of the Gods.

Here is a prayer you can use to honour Zeus on this day:

To the Son of Cronos, Most High
[1] I will sing of Zeus, chiefest among the gods and greatest, all-seeing, the lord of all,
the fulfiller who whispers words of wisdom to Themis as she sits leaning towards him.
Be gracious, all-seeing Son of Cronos, most excellent and great!”

The Homeric Hymns a Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White

(C) T. Georgitsis

 

Skiraphoria Festival

On the 7th of June, the Hellenic Skiraphoria festival is observed.

The Skiraphoria is a 3 day agricultural festival which is dedicated to Athena, Poseidon, Demeter and Kore.

The clergy at the time would ritualistically enact the fertilizing of the crops through three sacred plowing which included blessings and thanksgivings.

The women of Athens would gather in public during this time and would eat garlic to ensure they abstained from sexual interaction wfrom men which they withheld on this day.

On this day young men would race to Dionysos’s shrine carrying vibe branches and the champion would receive food and drink which Athena blessed on the day.

This is an auspicious time to start putting into action some of your project plans for the future.

Offer wine, honey, cheese, olive oil, fruits and grains.

(C) T. Georgitsis

 

Plynteria Festival

On the 22st of May, the Hellenic Plynteria festival is observed.

The Plynteria is a festival in which the statue of Athena Polias who guards Athens is cleansed.

Women of the household of the Praxiergidai (the Athenian family tasked with the care of the statue of Athena Polias)  would take the image and remove the robes, jewelry, then wrap it for a formal procession to the sea at Phaleron, where it was purified by sea water.  At sundown the statue was taken by a torch lit formal procession back to the temple and re-adorned with clean robes and jewelry.

This is considered an importune time and considered quite unlucky so Athena’s temple was closed and so its a good time to clean and revamp Athena’s shrines/altars/tools.

Offer figs or cakes containing figs to Athena.

(C) T. Georgitsis