Join the Thiasos of the Starry Bull in a Skype chat at 16:00 EDT about this Sicilian festival, full of flower symbolism and surrounding the story of Persephone’s abduction.
Some suggested Anthesphoria Info and Reading Material:
- The festival’s historical date is 12 April.
- While celebrated primarily in Sicily, there were similar festivals held at this time of the year in the Peloponnesos of Hellas (that’s the almost-island southern bit containing Sparta). A lot of the colonies on Sicily were founded by folks from the Peloponnesos, so the similarities are there for a reason.
- While many different locations in the Hellenic world (e.g. the lake at Lerna, the home of the Hydra) claim to have been the location of Persephone’s abduction, Sicily built a large part of its religious practice around this myth–which makes sense, since the island is said to have been Persephone’s wedding gift!
- Since the Starry Bull tradition follows the Magna Graecian versions of these myths, we generally honor Sicily’s claim.
- In the Sicilian festival, which celebrated either Persephone’s return or Her hieros gamos with Haides, one of the main devotional activities was making garlands and crowns out of local flowers. Apparently, Sicily had so many flowers that it was considered embarassing if you had to buy flowers to make your garlands!
- One of the striking differences between this festival and the Attic Anthesteria is its inclusion of imagery surrounding the Seirenes (Sirens), who were said to have been Persephone’s handmaidens.
Suggested Reading / Viewing:
- “How Do You Possibly Make the Anthesteria Even Better? You Make It Italian.” by Sannion. Link here.
- “Everyday Prayers: For the Dead” by Emily Kamp. Link here.
- Anthesphoria Images.
- How to make a dandelion crown (will work with any flower that has long, flexible stems).
- No pickable flowers near you? See if you have a local organic flower shop near you!
- Some suggested videos for Anthesphoria (warning: some explicit content and body horror).
We encourage discussion on anything we’ve presented here, and we encourage you to share your own UPG, sources, or art/music recommendations!