Dionysia (Bacchanalia) Various dates from Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary

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The Dionysia was a festival in ancient Greece in honor of Dionysus (also called Bacchus), the son of

Zeus and god of wine, fertility, and drama. There were a series of Dionysian festivals: the Oschophoria,

the rural or COUNTRY DIONYSIA, the Lenaea, the ANTHESTERIA, the urban Dionysia, and the most

famous—the City or Great Dionysia.

The Great Dionysias were held in the spring (March or April) in Athens for five or six days, and their

centerpieces were the performances of new tragedies, comedies, and satyric dramas.

These took place in the Theater of Dionysus on the side of the Acropolis and were attended by people

from throughout the country. The earliest tragedy that survives is Persai by Aeschylus, from the year

472 B.C.E. The dramatists, actors, and singers were considered to be performing an act of worship of

the god, and Dionysus was thought to be present at the productions.

The City Dionysias were a time of general springtime rejoicing (even prisoners were released to share

in the festivities)

and great pomp. The statue of Dionysus was carried in a procession that also included representations

of the phallus, symbolizing the god.

Dionysus was both a merry god who inspired great poetry and a cruel god; the Greeks realistically saw

wine as something that made people happy and also made them drunk and cruel. Thus, like the god, his

festivals seem to have combined contrasting elements of poetry and revelry.

The small rustic Dionysias were festive and bawdy affairs held in December or January at the first

tasting of new wine.

Besides dramatic presentations, there were processions of slaves carrying the phallus, the singing of

obscene lays, youths balancing on a full goat-skin, and the like.

The Leneae, held in Athens in January or February, included a procession of jesting citizens through the

city and dramatic presentations. The Oschophoria (“carrying of the grape cluster”), held in the fall when

the grapes were ripe, was marked by a footrace for youths.

Copyright © 2015 Omnigraphics, Inc.

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APA Dionysia (bacchanalia). (2015). In H. Henderson (Ed.), Holidays, festivals & celebrations of the world

dictionary: detailing more than 3,300 observances from all 50 states and more than 100 nations (5th ed.).

Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, Inc. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.unlv.edu/login?

url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/hfcwd/dionysia_bacchanalia/0?institutionId=778

Chicago “Dionysia (Bacchanalia).” In Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, edited by

Helene Henderson. 5th ed. Omnigraphics, Inc., 2015. http://ezproxy.library.unlv.edu/login?

url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/hfcwd/dionysia_bacchanalia/0?institutionId=778

Harvard Dionysia (bacchanalia). (2015). In H. Henderson (Ed.), Holidays, festivals & celebrations of the world

dictionary: detailing more than 3,300 observances from all 50 states and more than 100 nations. (5th ed.).

[Online]. Detroit: Omnigraphics, Inc. Available from: http://ezproxy.library.unlv.edu/login?

url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/hfcwd/dionysia_bacchanalia/0?institutionId=778

[Accessed 27 September 2018].

MLA “Dionysia (Bacchanalia).” Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, edited by Helene

Henderson, Omnigraphics, Inc., 5th edition, 2015. Credo Reference, http://ezproxy.library.unlv.edu/login?

url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/hfcwd/dionysia_bacchanalia/0?institutionId=778.

Accessed 27 Sep. 2018.

http://ezproxy.library.unlv.edu/login? url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/hfcwd/dionysia_bacchanalia/0

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