Aethers at Haloa festival dancing around a giant phallus (Oedipus Painter, 480 BC
Today is the winter solstice which marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In our present times, celebrations of the winter solstice are uncommon, however, in ancient Greece winter solstice celebrations were a sight to behold.
The festival celebrating the winter solstice in ancient Greek times was called the Haloea and all the evidence suggests that it was an occasion for great pleasure for all people regardless of status. The festival was held primarily in honour of the god Poseidon but both Dionysus and Artemis were revered as a part of the festival as well. The Haloea was celebrated all throughout ancient Greece and included- animal sacrifices, drinking, eating, music and dancing; all the makings of a wild party.
Unusually women were also permitted to participate in the festivities, and even had their own night where they enjoyed abundant food and drink, including cakes shaped like phalli and cunni, made lascivious jokes and exchanged scurrilous gossip. The celebrations for men were different however, while the women drank and danced naked, the men would banquet, perform sacrifices and light enormous bonfires in order to pay respect to Poseidon.
However you decide to celebrate this winter solstice, have fun and stay warm!