by Chris edited by Melissa<
(7 Pyanepsia) The Oskhophoria was a separate ceremony held on the same day as the Pyanepsia honored Dionysos and Athena Skira who protects the grape harvest. The celebration consisted mainly of a procession from a now unknown temple of Dionysos to the temple of Athena Skiras (at Phaleron). Two young males dressed as women (relating again to the events from the legends of Theseus), carried vine branches with bunches of grapes (oskhoi) still attached (Plutarch, Theseus, XXIII, 2-3). The herald accompanying the procession did not wear a garland, as is the custom, but attached it to his herald’s staff, because of the precedent set in the legend of Theseus.
According to legend, Theseus was supposed to let his father know that he was returning safely but, overcome with excitement, Theseus forgot to raise the white sails that signaled this, and the old man leapt to his death thinking his son was dead (Plutarch, Theseus, XXII, 1-2).
(Beans, served on this day to celebrate Pyanepsia, were also the food of the dead.)
The herald who went to Athens from the port to let the king know Theseus had returned was greeted with joy and wreaths, but because of the king’s death, he placed the wreaths upon his herald’s staff rather than upon his head.
As a festival in honor of Dionysos it is interesting in myth that it was Theseus who abandoned Ariadne upon the island where Dionysos, God of the vine, would in time find her and make her one of the immortals.
Observing Oskhophoria today
Since you are not likely to have a procession, add offerings to Dionysos during your Pyanepsia ritual and festival meal.