by: R. Aurelius Orcus
The Hellenic new-year start at the end of the month June begins of the month July and is called Hekatombaion. This calendar is based upon the Athenian calendar. There are other calendars of other city- states, but the Athenian one is the most intact and preserved. The Athenians use a calendar that started at sundown on the corresponding civil date. This way many Hellenic festivals were observed the next civil day. This way of counting days was common in ancient cultures (even the Celts and Hebrews use it). It wasn't uncommon for festivals to be observed at a time convenient for a given community, so a rigid attitude towards the given dates here is not needed. The ancient Greeks use the Olympic games as a reference point to count years, so every 4 years was an Olympiad and they use the year 776 B.C.E. as a starting point of the Olympic Games and Olympiads. Right now (2001-2005) we are in the 3rd year of the 695th Olympiad.
These are the Attic months:
Hekatombaion: July- August
Metageitnion: August- September
Boedromion: September- October
Puanepsion: October- November
Maimakterion: November- December
Poseideon: December- January
Gamelion: January- February
Anthesterion: February- March
Elaphebolion: March- April
Mounikhion: April- May
Thargelion: May- June
Skiraphorion: June- July
There is another Hellenic calendar as i have heard of a Boeotian/ Theban one. This calendar corresponds more with the labours of Herakles. There are 360 days. The 5 last days are considered the most sacred and are left open to celebrate the death and resurrection of Herakles.
Modern Hellenes/ Hellenic pagans use this Hellenic calendar with its festivals and devotions as these come from Drew's book: Old Stones, New Temples. There is a regular schedule for monthly devotions in every month that goes as following:
1) Noumenia (new moon)
2) Agathos Daimon
4) Hermes, Herakles, Aphrodite and Eros
8) Poseidon, Theseus and Asklepios
15) Dikhomenia (full moon)
16) Artemis/ Selen
30) Hekate and the ancestors
The day of the new moon was considered so holy that no other festival was held on that day. This is a day to look forward and refresh one's spiritual practice. Ask your patron or matron deities for special assistance. This day is also thought to be holy to Apollo. Some modern Hellenes burn frankincense to mark this day.
The Agathos Daimon is a personal tutelary spirit, comparable to the genius/ juno in Religo Romana or the guardian angel in Christianity. The Agathos Daimon could be seen as the personification of the conscience or as the higher self. If you don't normally do so, pour a libation to the Agathos Daimon at the end of your main meal on this day. This is the day to begin self-improvement plans.
The full moon is a time of fearful power, but yet the perfect time to perform any rituals to a Chthonic deity or prayer. It's ruled over by Horkos (Oaths) and the Erinyes. This is the time to face hard facts and to meditate on your motivations. Your oaths have an extra force on this day, be careful not to break your word.
The month of Hekatombaion has 30 days. It begins at 30/06/- 01/07/2003 and ends at 29-30/07/2003. For the Americans these are the dates: 2003/06/30- 2003/07/01 and ends at 2003/07/29-30.In this month we have 3 important festivals: Kronia, Sunoikia and the Panathenaia.
The first month of the Athenian year falls during the high summer. Next to each day of the month will be a festival or a deity (ies) listed to whom the day is dedicated or when the festival begins. So on the day that is dedicated to a deity or deities, one can pour libations in their honor or sacrifice in their honor.
1st (06-30- 01/07/2003): Noumenia Kata Selene
2nd (2003/07-01/02): Agathos Daimon
3rd (2003/07-02): Athena
4th (2003/07-03): Aphrodite, Herakles, Hermes and Eros
6th (2003/07/05-06): Artemis
7th (2003/07/06-07): Apollo
8th (2003/07/07-08): Poseidon and Theseus
12th (2003/07/11-12): Kronia
14th (2003/07/13-14): Full moon
16th (2003/07/15-16): Sunoikia
23rd (2003/07/22-23): Panathanaia ta megala (the greater Panathenaia)
24th (2003/07/23-24): Panathanaia ta megala (the greater Panathenaia)
25th (2003/07/24-25): Panathanaia ta megala (the greater Panathenaia)
26th (2003/07/25-26): Panathanaia ta megala (the greater Panathenaia)
27th (2003/07/26-27): Panathanaia ta megala (the greater Panathenaia)
28th (2003/07/27-28): Panathanaia ta megala (the greater Panathenaia)
29th (2003/07/28-29): Panathanaia ta megala (the greater Panathenaia), new moon
30th (2003/07/29-30): Panathanaia ta megala (the greater Panathenaia), Triakas, Hene kai Nea
Although the Kronia is the first major festival of the Athenian year, it belongs to a carnavalesque time where social roles are inverted. Kronos was the king of the Gods before Zeus, and was imprisoned by his own son with the other titans. These tales may underlie the Kronia, for during this festival Athenian slaves ran free and were treated to a sumptuous banquet by their masters. It is a celebration of the golden age where the current social order did not exist yet.
For modern day:
For Hellenists, this day might stand for being free of nagging habits, social obligations as financial, free of any restraints even if it is only temporary. A ritual may be performed on this day to honor Kronos and the elder Gods. This ritual can be performed outdoors, in a park or other convenient setting. This ritual includes purification by water, hymnodia, sacrifice & libation and concluding the ritual by feasting. A suggested feast menu: grilled meat and/ or vegetable skewers, bulghers and chickpea salad chopped salad, sweet cakes or breads and light wines. This festival takes place on Hekatombaion the 12th.
The Panathenaia was perhaps the most glorious of all Athenian festivals, celebrating the city's patroness, Athena. The festival was held annually as the lesser Panathenaia, while a greater a Greater Panathenaia was held every four years. The festival began with a pannukhis, an all- night vigil held on the night before the festival proper. At daybreak, runners fetched new fire and raced from a grove outside the city to Athena's temple on the Akropolis. The whole community, including both young and old, processed from the Dipylon Gate to the temple, where, among abundant sacrifices of sheep and cows, a new gown (peplos) was offered to the ancient statue (xoanon) of the Goddess. Chariot races, a regatta, and other athletic and musical competitions stretched over several days. The athletic prize was an amphora of oil from sacred olive trees while the musical winners received gilded olive crowns and money.
This is the festival where we celebrate the birth of Athena and we do not ask her for any favors on these days, but rather we thank her for her continuing protection and care. The participant uses the many epithets of the Goddess to recall her many gifts and care for humanity. First, a purification ritual must be performed in order to get started. This usually is purifying one self through water. The hymnodia begins where the participant(s) calls upon Athena using all of her epithets. The sacrifice and libation are next - a loaf of olive bread, olives or any other food is burned. Libations-vine, red wine, is poured in honor of Athena. A feast follows containing the following menu: olive bread, stew, red wine, feta cheese and marinated olives.
Next to each day of the month will be a festival or a deity (ies) listed to whom the day is dedicated or when the festival begins. So on the day that is dedicated to a deity or deities, one can pour libations in their honor or sacrifice in their honor.
1) (2003/07/30-31): Noumenia Kata Selene
2) (2003/07-08/31-01): Agathos Daimon, lammas, Herakleia
3) (2003/08/01-02): Athena
4) (2003/08/02-03): Aphrodite, Herakles, Hermes and Eros.
5) (2003/08/03-04): Artemis
6) (2003/08/04-05): Apollo
7) (2003/08/05-06): Poseidon and Theseus
16) (2003/08/14-15): Kourotrophos, Hekate and Artemis
19) (2003/08/17-18): the Heroines
20) (2003/08/18-19): Hera Thelkhina
25) (2003/08/23-24): Zeus Epoptes
29) (2003/08/27-28): Triakas, Hene kai Nea
Drew Campbell: Old Stones, New Temples: ISBN: 0-7388-3201-
The HMEPA (Hellenic Month Established Per Athens : http://www.numachi.com/~ccount/hmepa/calendars/695.html