The ancient Greeks celebrated the winter solstice by partying in the name of Poseidon.
Go Fish King!
Why they honored the sea god when the sun was at its weakest—instead of Zeus the sky god or Helios the sun deity—is not clear. Still, the Greeks bolstered winter light by creating their own mini suns with candles and communal bonfires.
The Greeks also celebrated Poseidon’s renowned randiness (did you know he seduced a pretty maiden named Medusa before her hair got all snaky?) with a little bit of dirty dancing of their own. What else they must have figured, what were the longer, darker nights for, if not for creating their own private earthquakes?
(You know, because Poseidon was responsible for earthquakes…never mind.)
So, when our own celebrations get a little overwhelming, you could thank your lucky stars that at least you don’t have to attend a bonfire fish fry or a communal, all-night…um, “dance” party.
Or, you could find yourself wishing some ancient winter solstice celebrations never quite disappeared. May your next fish fry be merry!
Maybe they honoured Poseidon because this is worst time of year for sailing, and they needed to propitiate him to bring back to good sailing weather?
Vicky Alvear Shecter says
Juliette, that sounds right, given that so much of their livelihood depended on the providence of Poseidon. Thanks for stopping by!
Cathy C. Hall says
Oh, it’s all fun and games till someone’s hair turns into snakes…:-)
Elizabeth O. Dulemba says
Gabriele C. says
Snakes would probably be easier to turn into something decent looking than the unruly mess on my head. 😉