Our Lady of Celestial Fire

Festival of Lenaia

January 28

(Greek)Ancient 12–15 Lenaia.
Though the festival is not well understood, it is probably to bring the spring and fertility. There may be a procession, during which the Daidukhos (Torch-bearer) says, “Invoke the God!” and the celebrants respond, “Son of Semele, Iakkhos, Giver of Wealth!” There are also contests of drama, song and poetry.

The Lenaia is most likely named for the Lenai, who are Maenads. At midnight, clothed and bearing the thyrsus, castanets, tambourines, flutes and torches, they begin an all-night ecstatic dance before a garlanded image of Dionysos. This idol is a simple post, dressed in a man’s tunic, with garlanded branches like upraised arms, and with a bearded mask of Dionysos. Before it stands a table with two stamnoi (jugs) of wine and a kantharos (cup) between them; from the stamnoi the dancers dip the intoxicating wine. (Parke, H. W., Festivals of the Athenians, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977. pp104–4. and Simon, E., Festivals of Attica: An Archaeological Commentary, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983. pp100–1.)