Rural (Country) Dionysia

by Jessi edited by Melissa

Festival in honor of Dionysos, simpler form of the City (Greater) Dionysia. The Rural Dionysia was held during the winter in the month of Poseideon (roughly corresponding to December). It was celebrated with a large procession in which men carried a phallus and cakes. Revelers and singers were also a part of the procession. A representation of the God was also included to represent His coming. The festival also included stage comedies and the playing of lighthearted games. Generally, it was a joyful festival, shared by all, even the slaves (Parke 100-103).

Ways to celebrate in modern times:

Sing, dance, play games, attend or participate in a parade or comedic theater of some sorts. Create phallic-shaped cakes for consumption and sacrifice. Read The Archanians by Aristophanies, which provides a glimpse of the festival. Display images and symbols of the God. Recite Orphic Hymns 30 and 45, Homeric Hymns I, VII and XXVI (all to Dionysos), or even hymns of your own creation.

I celebrate the Rural Dionysia following immediately the Heliogenna lasting through January 1. I pack baskets with gifts of nuts, wine, silly games and gifts, and DVD’s of comedies. Then I deliver those baskets, not more than one a day or evening, to friends and family. I spend the evening with the basket recipient and we eat the snacks, watch the DVDs, and drink the wine. We also play the silly games and laugh. You don’t have to give the DVDs, you could just bring over a bottle of wine and a DVD from your collection or a netflix. That’s how I celebrate it since that is pretty close (in spirit) to what the Rural Dionysia was all about. The religious aspects I do in private. – Cara Schulz

Parke, H.W., Festivals of the Athenians, 1977