Ecclesia Ordinis Caelestis Templum Olympicus/Celestial Order and Temple of Olympus

Festival of Haloa

January 11

(Greek) Ancient: 26 Poseideon
Most likely the Haloa is a celebration of the pruning of the vines and the tasting of the wine after its first fermentation, or it may be to encourage the growth of corn from the seed. It is named after the halos (the circular threshing-floor) and is in honor of Demeter and Dionysos.

In the earliest times the first part of the festival was restricted to married women, but after the fourth century BCE to hetairai (courtesans). The Eleusinian Arkhontes (Magistrates) prepare a banquet comprising many foods, including phallus- and pudenda-shaped cakes, but not those foods forbidden in the Mysteries (pomegranates, apples, eggs, fowls, some fish).

The Arkhontes then leave, permitting the women to eat, to drink much wine, and to celebrate licentiously. Carrying clay models of phalli and pudenda, they dance on the halos around one or more giant phalli, and engage in ritual obscenity. The women may carry on their heads kernoi (offering dishes) containing incense, grains or other offerings. Offerings may be sprinkled on the phalli, around the bases of which are corn leaves. Some women, including the Priestesses, encourage the other women to take secret lovers.

Afterwards men are admitted and a joyful komos (revel) begins, which develops into an all-night orgy. A Priest and Priestess, with torches representing Demeter and Persephone, sit on chests and preside over the fertility celebration. [NFR 32; PFA 98–9; SFA 35–7]