by Jessi edited by Melissa and others

(12-15  Gamelion) The Lenaia was a four-day festival in honor of Dionysos and the maenads, perhaps the origin of the City Dionysia in the Classical Era.  Like many festivals, there was a procession carrying a representation of Dionysos, dancing by Athenian girls with castanets and carrying the thyrsus and dramatic competitions.  It may have included a midnight revel by women (Parke, 104-106).

Ways to celebrate in modern times:

  • Eat, drink and be merry.
  • Attend or put on plays or other forms of theater. It would be especially appropriate to read The Frogs by Aristophanes, as the play received 1st place in 405 BCE when performed at the Lenaia.
  • Recite Orphic Hymns 30 and 45, Homeric Hymns I, VII and XXVI (all to Dionysos), or even modern hymns or of your own creation.
  • This may be an appropriate time to hold a women’s only night-time rite with dancing.


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

Scene on pottery representing a Lenaia celebration. Vase at Naples National Archaeological Museum (in Italy)