History of Wine: Anthesteria

We’re excited to announce a new series of posts featuring short snippets of wine history! We’re starting this series with the festival Anthesteria.

The Vintage Festival – Image courtesy WikiArt



Anthesteria is one of the four Athenian festivals in honor of Dionysus. It is held for three days during the first full moon in January. For 2015 that would have been January 5th in 2015.

Anthesteria is a feast to open the new wine jars (amphora). The first day was called Pithoigia, literally “the opening of the wine jars.” The second day, called Choes, was to make merry, with participants dressed up and masked. The third day, Chytroi, was a little unusual and is best translated as “a festival of the dead.” It was a little bit like a combination of all saints day and carnival. On the third day there would also be stage performances, usually tragedies but with a few comedies by 400 BC.


Look forward to more brief tidbits of wine history in the near future!


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