Honoring the God and Goddess of the Feast (Not necessarily safe for children)

(26 Poseideon)  Festival in honor of Demeter Haloa and Dionysus named after the halos (threshing floor). Although little is known about the specifics of this festival, we do know that it honored Dionysus and Demeter and appears to have been a fertility rite.  It was celebrated with a feast likely held at Eleusis, with genitalia-shaped cakes, but without the foods forbidden in the Eleusinian Mysteries.  After the feast women danced around a giant phallus, leaving it offerings and engaged in ritual obscenity. 

Ways to celebrate in modern times: Sacrifice fruits to Demeter.  If at all possible, use fruits that are in season—or at least imported from shorter distances.  This is primarily a women’s festival and not entirely appropriate for young children because of the erotic practices.  It might include a large feast with female family members and friends with cake(s) as dessert (if you can, make them in the shape of male and female genitalia), avoiding the foods forbidden at the Eleusinian mysteries (pomegranates, apples, eggs, chicken and fish, although which species offish we aren’t sure).  If possible and appropriate, include erotic entertainment and share erotic jokes. Recite the Orphic Hymns 30 and 45, Homeric Hymns I, VII and XXVI (all to Dionysos) or the Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter, or even hymns of your own creation.  Because of its proximity to the winter solstice, and because the men’s festival involved a large bonfire, it’s appropriate to celebrate with a large outdoor fire.

I’m thinking that as SOME of the practices of the Haloa are not child-friendly, I will likely not be celebrating this festival where my daughter Mira can see for the next nine or ten years. At that time, she will be a young woman, and MIGHT be willing to participate in her own right.

However, the parts that do not involve sexual imagery would still be something that we can include as a family winter practice in the meantime — I would say the making of fruit-laden cookies or rum balls would be something that we might do until she is older and can better understand the parts of the Haloa that she cannot at this time.

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