Sunday, October 24, 2010

Puanepsia and Oskhophoria

Today we celebrate the Puanepsia and Oskhophoria honoring Apollon and Dionysos as harvest Gods. Both of these festivals originated in Ancient Athens and many modern Hellenics honor this as the time when the rulership of Delphi switches from Apollon to Dionysos as according to Myth, Apollon spends half of the year in Hyperborea. The celebration includes singing, dancing and the offerings of Panspermia (a stew of beans and legumes) and grapes to the two Gods. One of our temple participants brings an awesome lentil soup for the panspermia wwhich is always a looked forward to treat. In the oven is a loaf of cinnamon-sugar swirl bread filling the house with the spicy aroma of cinnamon and clove.

We shall also be making the eiresioni, a branch decorated with bay leaves, dried fruits, nuts, ribbons and wool which is hung over the door to bring good luck through the coming year. In ancient times, this branch was brought around the city of Athens by children who would ask for gifts in exchange for pieces of the branch, much like the tradition of trick-or-treating in America today.

In the ancient celebration of the Oskhophoria, the procession of grape vines was led by two men dressed as women to symbolize the androgynous nature of Dionysos. Some of us participating in the event this year have decided to dress in clothing of the opposite gender to honor this aspect of the festival. Dionysos is all about the blurring of boundaries and pushing them to the point where they break and it is through the destruction of these boundaries that we begin to understand ourselves and connect with the larger picture at the same time. All in all, it looks to be a great celebration!

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