Lenaia on The Levels

Witchwood Wild

Lenaia is an ancient Athenian festival held in the month of Gamelion (Jan-Feb) in honour of Dionysos. Scholars suggest the name Lenaia comes from lenos, meaning “wine press”, and therefore is a festival of viticulture, though may also refer to lenai, which is another term for maenads.  The Lenaia was an important festival for Athens, involving a procession from outside to the city to Dionysos’s temple, where the officials sacrificed a bull and speeches and dramatic contests took place in the temple theatre. Later in the day the revelers would retire for private celebrations and drinking wine, while Dionysian women would erect a wooden pole and decorate it as Dionysos; hanging a mask from it and draping it with ivy and grapes. The maenads would dance before the image of Dionysos and bring Him offerings of wine.

How does this translate into the practices of a 21st century…

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