February 18, 2014

(Not) Anthesteria

Stricter recons than I will ever be celebrated Anthesteria last week. There are some fantastic posts about it. Suz, Ariadne in Exile (three posts), and Dver’s four posts at A Forest Door.

I, in keeping with my personal preference to match the holidays to the seasonal cycles of my home, am waiting for the flowers to start blooming. Anthesterion means the month of blooming. I’ll celebrate over the full moon after the cherry trees blossom. They’re mostly the first things to pop, and when they burst into flower, it’s still cold and rainy, but spring has begun.

The holidays of Hellas were based on the seasons of Hellas. Anthesteria is, at root, an agricultural festival. It is the opening of the new wine that was laid down in the previous fall. Now, I don’t have any idea when wine is laid down around here — although at some point I’ll look into that — but we ferment and age wine differently these days, for much longer, so the cycle is different. I think the blossoms are important, though, and I’ll wait for those cherry blossoms.

Which, unfortunately, means my sinuses will be stuffed solid and I’ll be a bit out of it, since I’m allergic to the damn things. Oh, well.

They usually bloom in April, so I’ll probably do Lenaia in March. Two months after everybody else, but there you go. The consequences of nonconformism.

I don’t know what I’ll do about the Dionysia, which are more closely tied to the solar calendar. I may keep those as they are. I’d like to tie more ritual to the solar holidays, actually, and those aren't so much agricultural. I just can’t see celebrating a holiday whose very name means blooming when nothing here blooms.

Some reconstructionists feel very firmly about keeping strictly to the ancient dates of Athens, particularly since this festival is one on which the dead join us here, and, I guess, how would they know when to join us if not for the date? But I think the dead return for their offerings of new wine, and so will come whenever the proper rituals are held and offerings made.