Sometimes, I wonder whether this is a blog or a photo album. Nevertheless, I’m sharing you this year’s Anthestêria through the following pictures:
On the first day of Anthestêria, Pithoigia, I pickled some mangoes. We call them burong manggá around here, and they’re best eaten (IMO, at least) when they’re bordering on alcoholic. The jar, along with the wines, was presented to Dionysos and the Household Gods to kick off the festivities.
Here, you see my freshly pickled mangoes, a new bottle of lambanóg (“coconut wine”), and old mulled wine from Lênaia. True to my Mestizo heritage, I make it a point to offer produce/products from both sides of the family.
After the sacred fires were lit, many songs were sung to the God who wears many masks…
…to the One who causes flowers to spring from the cold, dark earth.
The altar is graced with a generous libation of mixed wine (in a boat-shaped wooden bowl, no less), a gorgeous bouquet of Marsh rosemary, and upo (or calabash), freshly cut from the vine.
Here, the mixed wine crowns our rice supply for the next few months, blessing it.
On the third day of Anthestêria, Khytroi, the gracious Spirits Below are invited (and sent off) with the rattling jingle of sleigh bells.
The Immortals and Once-Mortals who keep the Dead in peace watch on…
In keeping with Asian custom: paper money to burn in sacrifice.
As I keep one shrine for all the gods of my family, I leave two-thirds of it veiled (the portion for the celestial ones) and the remaining third open (for the ones below).
Hermês Khthonios as Hermanubis grants our Blessed Dead passage and mediates between us and them.
After setting aside portions for our family’s ancestors, the rest of the panspermia pottage was left outside to be buried, to feed the All-Dead, not just our blessed and beloved. We who survive, remember and honour those who have gone before us, as Deucalion and his kin once did.
As we ended Anthestêria with a proper send off for overstaying “visitors” (including the “kindly” Keres and Lemures), we ushered the beginning of Parentalia, informing our Blessed Dead that they are welcome for the next 9 days to share our joys and hopes, and to bless us if they so will. Salvete Dii Parentes!
Hail to You, ye beautiful, laughter-loving sons of Zeus, Openers of the door, deathless friends of mortals and once-mortals! Even when the shrines are veiled and the fires burn low, You are with us, standing in between, ye faithful guides and saviours of Men, in darkness and in light! Hail!
And that, my friends, is how I spent the first half of February. I hope you had beautiful celebrations yourselves, and I pray for only bigger smiles and better food in the coming festivals. As the old hymn goes:
« καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε, πολυστάφυλ᾽ ὦ Διόνυσε:
δὸς δ᾽ ἡμᾶς χαίροντας ἐς ὥρας αὖτις ἱκέσθαι,
ἐκ δ᾽ αὖθ᾽ ὡράων εἰς τοὺς πολλοὺς ἐνιαυτούς. »
“And so hail to you, Dionysos, god of abundant clusters!
Grant that we may come again rejoicing to this season,
and from that season onwards for many a year.”
Hail days past! Hail days to come! Hail Winter’s end and Spring’s beginning! And hail the Spirits that stand in between! Hail Hermês! Hail Dionysos! Hail our Blessed Ancestors!
PS: In case you missed last year’s, here they are, too.