Haloa (festival)

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'Haloa or Alo (῾Αλῶα) was an Attic festival, but celebrated principally at Eleusis, in honour of Demeter (Δήμητρα, η Αλωαίη), protector of the fruits of the earth, of Dionysus, god of the grape and of wine, and Poseidon (Ποσειδώνας ο Φυτάλμιος), god of the seashore vegetation. It took place every year, during the month Poseideon (Ποσειδέωνας), after the harvest was over, and only "first fruits" were offered on this occasion, partly as a grateful acknowledgment for the benefits the husbandman had received, and partly that the next harvest might be plentiful. We learn from Demosthenes (c. Neaer. p. 1385), that it was unlawful to offer any bloody sacrifice on the day of this festival, and that priestesses alone had the privilege to offer the fruit and to conduct the initiation ceremonies. This festival took place around the threshing floors (αλώνια) at the same time throughout Attica. Little information has survived about this festival except for the fact that the women were allowed to exchange "lusty words" among themselves, that priestesses advised women to commit adultery and that models of male and female genitals were carried during the procession. The festival was also called Thalysia or Syncomesteria. All women were expected to attend this event.

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