Hellenion’s 2011 Hellenic Festival Calendar

By Ivy Izzard. Available for print and use on altars at Redbubble. Hera is honored by Hellenion in January on the second Saturday of the month.

Hellenion’s 2011 Calendar is available for download at Hellenion’s website.  I’ve also included it here for download from Helleneste kai Grammateus.  The calendar is also available in webpage form.

If you use Google calendars, go to Hellenion’s Google calendar to integrate it into your schedule.

This year many of the holy days are linked to pages online which describe the ancient festivals, some with suggestions for how to celebrate them in the modern world.  To read about all of them at once, go to our Temenos site list of festivals.  The Temenos site can be edited by any Hellenion member.  So if you are a member, you can add how you celebrate the holy days to our collective experience there!  Regardless of whether you are a member of Hellenion, your personal experiences are also welcome on Hellenion Chat, which is affectionately called “Hellenion’s Front Porch”.

By using this calendar and the festival resources available at the Temenos, you’ll be celebrating alongside fellow Hellenic Polytheists.  We look forward to celebrating with you!

The 2010 Hellenion Calendar

Photograph of Supreme Council of Ethnikoi Hell...

Supreme Council of Ethnikoi Hellenes (YSEE) ritual in Greece via Wikipedia

Many people have expressed interest in the 2010 Hellenion Calendar and how to find it.  I am including a link in here for interested, and also updating the links page for Helleneste kai Grammateus.

The 2010 Hellenion Calendar

The calendar is based on the monthly and annual observances and festivals of the ancient Athenians from about 800 BCE to 323 BCE. This version was created using information derived from http://www.numachi.com/~ccount/hmepa and from http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/MoonPhase.html as well as the sources Greek Religion by Walter Burkert (Harvard University Press, 1977, English translation: Basil Blackwell Publisher and Harvard University Press, 1985), Old Stones, New Temples; ancient Greek paganism reborn, by Drew Campbell (Xlibris Corporation, 2000) and Festivals of the Athenians, by H. W.Parke (London, Thames and Hudson, 1977)…

In addition to ancient festivals and observances, certain modern occasions are listed as well. This includes the Hellenion monthly libation (ensuring that at least one day a month is shared by a community, albeit scattered, at the same time, and also ensuring that each of the twelve Olympians is honored at least once during the year). Note that this libation is not an official practice of Hellenion but a voluntary activity endorsed by many Hellenion members.  Some modern festivals are also listed, such as Heliogenna, held over several days during the shortest days of December, and Prometheia, held in Greece on the summer solstice near Mt. Olympos (see http://www.ysee.gr/index-eng.php for more information about this festival).

Thanksgiving in Hellenismos?

Sean posted this on Hellenion_Chat and I thought it was an excellent way to reflect on the modern custom of celebrating Thanksgiving:

So, even though Thanksgiving in modern times is an American and
Canadian holiday, the spirit of the holiday is present in many other
cultures. I have only found one in Hellenic faith that seems to fit
(below)… does anyone have any others?

Apaturia (Greek: ὰπατούρια) were Ancient Greek festivals held annually
by all the Ionian towns, except Ephesus and Colophon (Herodotus i.
147). At Athens it took place on the 11th, 12th and 13th days of the
month Pyanepsion (mid-October to mid-November), on which occasion the
various phratries, or clans, of Attica met to discuss their affairs.
The name is a slightly modified form of ὰπατόρια = ὰμαπατόρια,
ὁμοπατόρια, the festival of “common relationship”. The ancient
etymology associated it with ἀπάτη (“deceit”), a legend claiming that
the festival originated in 1100 B.C. as a commemoration of a single
combat between a certain Melanthus, representing King Thymoetes of
Attica, and King Xanthus of Boeotia, in which Melanthus successfully
threw his adversary off his guard by crying that a man in a black goat
skin (identified with Dionysus) was helping him (Schol. Aristophanes,
Acharnians, 146). On the first day of the festival, called Dorpia or
Dorpeia (Δορπεία), banquets were held towards evening at the
meeting-place of the phratries or in the private houses of members. On
the second, Anarrhysis (from ὰναρρύειν, “to draw back the victim’s
head”), a sacrifice of oxen was offered at the public cost to Zeus
Phratrius and Athena. On the third day, Kureōtis (κουρεῶτις), children
born since the last festival were presented by their fathers or
guardians to the assembled phratores, and, after an oath had been
taken as to their legitimacy and the sacrifice of a goat or a sheep,
their names were inscribed in the register. The name κουρεῶτις is
derived either from κοῦρος, “young man”, i.e., the day of the young,
or less probably from κείρω, “to shear”, because on this occasion
young people cut their hair and offered it to the gods. The
sacrificial animal was called μείον. The children who entered puberty
also made offerings of wine to Hercules. On this day also it was the
custom for boys still at school to declaim pieces of poetry, and to
receive prizes (Plato, Timaeus, 21 B). According to Hesychius, these
three days of the festival were followed by a fourth, called ἐπίβδα,
but this is merely a general term for the day after any festival.

Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the
public domain

Thanksgiving is many circles of love: A story ...

Cycles of Love on Thanksgiving Image by controltheweb via Flickr

Now, what I’m wondering, is how one can integrate these ancient traditions into the modern practice of celebrating Thanksgiving. Would this mean holding Thanksgiving no later than the second week of November for example?

The general consensus seems to be that since Apaturia took place at any given time over a month, that pushing the celebration to the modern date of Thanksgiving would not be in conflict.

I also liked the idea, which I heard from the Hellenion_Chat list, that there are patron gods over Thanksgiving and it is an appropriate time to sacrifice the first portion of the feast to Them, and aknowledge their blessings with thanks. These would be: Hestia for the warmth of her hearth, Artemis for the sacrifice of the meat, Demeter for the bounty of her grains, and lastly Hestia once more for the fires that make possible the small sacrifice I give as first-portion to the gods.