In short

Les Lenaia (grec ancien : Λήναια) étaient un festival athénien et delphois annuel avec une compétition d’art dramatique. C’était l’une des fêtes les moins importantes d’Athènes et d’Ionie dans la Greece antique. Les Lenaia a eu lieu à Athènes au mois de Gamelion, correspondant à peu près à janvier. Le festival était en l’honneur de Dionysus Lenaios.


Lenaia, the drama competition

The Lenaia is depicted on many vases, which show both typical Maenad scenes and those of aristocrats and wine-mixing rituals. It is unclear exactly what type of worship took place at the festival, but it may have been in honor of Dionysus in his youth or the rebirth of Dionysus after his assassination by the Titans. It may also have had some connection to the Eleusinian Mysteries, as some of the same religious leaders were involved (such as the Archon basileus and the epimeletai). These officials led the procession (πομπή), which probably ended with a sacrifice.

The party seems agrarian. It was celebrated at a crucial time to promote the awakening of nature. More precisely, the grape and the wine, symbolized by the god himself, his death and his re-emergence from the underworld. However, it was not the time of the harvest, but rather that of the pruning of the vines.

The festival may have had rites for women invoking Iacchus, considered Dionysus as a child, by torchlight and commemorating the myth de la mort et de la renaissance du dieu. Le rituel associé dans ce cas à l’idée de la résurrection du dieu associé à la production de vin et au pressoir. Cependant, s’il s’agissait ou non d’un festival pour les femmes, ou si ce festival les impliquait fortement, reste un débat. À Athènes, il n’y avait aucune mention d’un festival des femmes. Cependant, cela pourrait être dû au fait que les femmes sont associées aux rites secrets et sacrés de Dionysos, qui ne seraient normalement pas évoqués ou rendus publics.

, the festival was originally held in the Lenaion (possibly a theater outside the city or a section of the Agora) but was probably moved to the Theater of Dionysus in the mid-5th century. From the second half of the 5th century BCE plays were performed (as they were at the City Dionysia festival later that year). Lenaia audiences were generally limited to locals, as travel by sea at this time of year was considered dangerous.

Around 442 BCE the festival held dramatic competitions only for comedy, but in 432 BCE a tragic competition was introduced. Many plays by Aristophanes were performed there for the first time, such as “Knights”. Towards the end of the century, the festival plays were performed at the Theater of Dionysus. It is not known when the Lenaia were abandoned, but contests of some sort continued until the 2nd century BCE.

Social networks

On this day, in Athens and Delphi, the Lenaia took place. Surely linked to the mysteries of Eleusis, the Lenaia included a very famous drama competition of greek. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #15January #lenaia #athens #delphi