Elaphebolia

by Melissa edited by others

(probably 6 Elaphebolion) This festival gives this month its name, from Artemis Elaphebolios (Deer-shooting), as the Goddess of the hunt.  The festival most likely occurred on the sixth day, which is Her usual day to receive prayers and honors. In ancient times, Athenians, especially the Aristocracy, may have sacrificed stags to her, but as building and agriculture expanded, the deer likely retreated from Attika into remote hills.  Instead, citizens of all classes offered elaphoi (stags-shaped cakes), made from dough, honey and sesame-seeds.  By the fourth century BCE and possibly sooner, this festival lost importance as the City Dionysia grew in importance (from H.W. Parke, Festivals of the Athenians, 1977, pp. 125-136).


A sample Elaphebolia ritual can be found here.