Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Anthesteria, one of the four Athenian festivals in honour of Dionysus, held annually for three days (11th-13th) in the month of Anthesterion (February-March). The object of the festival was to celebrate the maturing of the wine stored at the previous vintage, and the beginning of spring.
On the first day, called Pithoigia (opening of the casks), libations were offered from the newly opened casks to the god of wine, all the household, including servants and slaves, joining in the festivities. The rooms and the drinking vessels in them were adorned with spring flowers, as were also the children over three years of age.
The second day, named Choes (feast of beakers), was a time of merrymaking. The people dressed themselves gaily, some in the disguise of the mythical personages in the suite of Dionysus, and paid a round of visits to their acquaintances. Drinking clubs met to drink off matches, the winner being he who drained his cup most rapidly. Others poured libations on the tombs of deceased relatives. On the part of the state this day was the occasion of a peculiarly solemn and secret ceremony in one of the sanctuaries of Dionysus in the Lenaeum , which for the rest of the year was closed. The basilissa (or basilinna), wife of the archon basileus for the time, went through a ceremony of marriage to the wine god, in which she was assisted by fourteen Athenian matrons, called geraerae, chosen by the basileus and sworn to secrecy.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details