Anthesteria—Sometimes called the Greek ALL SOULS’ DAY, Anthesteria was a three-day festival in honour of Dionysus held annually at Athens from the 11th to the 13th of the month of Anthesterion (February-March). Its object was to celebrate the maturing of the wine stored at the previous vintage and the beginning of spring. The first two days, the Pithoigia (opening of the casks) and Choes (feast of beakers) were considered as ill-omened and required expiatory libations; on those days the souls of the dead walked abroad. On the third day, called Chutroi (feast of pots), a festival of the dead was held. Although the GHOSTS were welcomed to home feasts, where places were set for them, they were kept out of temples and sanctuaries, by crossing thorn branches over the entrances or daubing pitch on the lintels. In later times the Anthesteria was largely replaced by Rousalia, held on Easter Tuesday, although there are also reports of Rousalia being held in conjunction with ALL SAINTS’ DAY.


The Halloween Encyclopedia Second Edition written by Lisa Morton © 2011 Lisa Morton. All rights reserved