Festivals

Good morning all. This is Your Morning Briefing, February 22, 2012.

Suzanne started our conversation of last night with, “I noticed you did no work on Monday, you somehow seemed out of sorts.”

“Really, it was nothing.” I replied, “I decided that since it was President’s Day, and the Stock Market was closed like all government offices, including the post office, I could take the day off as well. Inspiration, as you may have noticed, can take a holiday too. Don’t you ever take a day off, or did you Greeks back then not have holidays where you did nothing but enjoy yourself and worry not about working?”

“Oh, Bobby, there were many festivals and celebrations. The Greeks had celebrations surrounding many of their gods and goddesses, and many that were like yours here, in that they revolved around certain times of the year, like spring, harvest festivals, etc., and famous people. So, you can see the Ancient Greeks and you are alike in that respect.” Suzanne said.

Then she added, “Like yours often do, a lot of them involved athletic games,  processions, (you would call them parades) dancing, drinking and eating way to much. In some there was also an element of what you would call ‘hanky-panky’ going on between the young men and women, (think Mardi Gras) but that was not the norm, as you may have been led to believe by some accounts, though there were some fertility festivals as I recall.”

“So, my little Athenian flower, did you take part in many of these festivals when you weren’t off somewhere inspiring some poor soul you thought needed inspiring?”

“My favorites were the Dionysian Festivals, which were really a series of festivals meant to honor the god Dionysus. You know him to be the god of wine, revelry, drama, sap and sperm.” She said.

I told her,  “He sounds like my kinda’ guy.”

“Anyway,” she went on, “the first of his minor festivals came in the fall when the grapes were ripe, another came around December or January, and celebrated the first tasting of the wine. There was another lesser one, also held during Grecian winter that involved a parade of citizens acting like silly fools running through the streets of the city.”

“Hold it,” I said, “these people didn’t wear funny, red hats with yellow tassles by any chance, did they? And is it possible that’s where Shriners got the idea?”

She looked at me and said, “Bobby, I have no idea what you are talking about.”

I assured her that was okay, and asked her to continue.

“Well,” she said, “the mother of all of the Dionysian Festivals was the Grand Dionysia that was usually held in the spring and it lasted five or six days. It was marked by many productions at the Theater of Dionysus. He was also a patron of the theater. The festival was held in high regard by everyone, and there was, of course much other celebrating that went on during that time, as you might imagine.”

“All in all,” I said, “sounds like to me they knew how to have a good time back then.”

“They did, Bobby, and it was not uncommon for Dionysus’ rituals or festivals to end in what today you would call orgies. The word back then didn’t have the same connotation it has today. It wasn’t viewed as a negative, more of a way show how much they were devoted to Dionysus.” She said.

“All I could think of to say was, “When are you going to take me to a Grand Dionysia?”

She laughed,  a twinkle in her eye, and said, “Maybe sooner than you think, Bobby, just maybe sooner than you think.”

I can hardly wait.

Take care, be well an keep in touch.

Bob

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About Bob Kallberg

Retired reporter. Concentrating now on recounting Joanie's 12 year battle with cancer, a battle she waged with extreme courage, determination and an indomitable spirit, that, for me, serves as an example.
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