Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Anthesteria is a 3-day festival to Dionysos. The first day celebrates His birth, the second his wedding to Ariadne, and the third celebrates his descent to the underworld to retrieve His mother Semele, who had died during His birth. All of the dead are said to take advantage of this opportunity to venture out of Hades' realm, and so thanks is also offered to Hermes for guiding them back.

Anthesteria 2014

Anthesteria 2017

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rural Dionysia

The Rural Dionysia is a celebration of the several ways in which Dionysos has survived attempts to destroy Him.  In ancient times, part of this celebration involved a procession with a large phallus, representing the one part of Him that Athena saved from the Titans.  In modern times, there are many innovative ways to carry on the spirit of this tradition. 


The Kheimonia is our celebration of the changing of seasons at the Winter Solstice.  As it is a time marked mainly by the position of the sun in the sky, Helios, and therefore also Selene, are honored.  At the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus, and Pan, we also honor the temple Patrons at this time. 

Over the years, this festival has grown to encompass Demeter's Haloa and the Rural Dionysia as well, and so cakes and candies representing life-giving organs are made, and a very Dionysian ring-toss (ahem) has become a traditional game.  In the interest of both including these elements and not excluding children of temple members, this has become a two-part festival, with the first half of the day being child-friendly and the latter half adult-oriented.

This is separate from the Pompaia, during which we ask for protection during the winter.  Instead, this is a celebration of the change of season and the return of lengthening days.

Kheimonia 2013

Kheimonia 2014

Kheimonia 2016

Kheimonia 2017


Because pine is Pan's sacred tree, some Pan children have seen it to be appropriate to decorate a tree in His honor, particularly during the time of year when the "polis" at large is also decorating pine trees.

HTAZP holds a festival and informal ritual on this date to celebrate this event. As the reason the pine is sacred to Pan relates to the nymph Pitys, she is also honored on this occasion.

Each participant brings an ornament for the tree, and libations of spring water are made to help keep it healthy if a live tree is used.  In 2011, we used pine cones that had been decorated and offered at Panaia as part of the decorations as well.  Suggestions for how to make such ornaments can be found here.  It is ideal for a potted tree to be used, however if this is impractical, a false tree or cut tree can be used, provided that the tree be thanked for its sacrifice.

Dendraia 2011

Dendraia 2012

Dendraia 2013

Dendraia 2014

Dendraia 2016 (part 1)