Spring Cleaning


There are two festival days in the ancient Greek lunar month of Thargelion (closest to the month of May) that celebrate spring cleaning. Will it surprise you that they are both celebrated by women? I am about to pick up and move my home and – though I tend to be a total mess usually – suddenly I find myself imagining what it would take to really give my rugs a good scrub.

The first holiday is the Kallynteria in which “women sweep out the temple of Athena, and Her eternal flame is refilled and relit by the priestess.” It takes place on the 22nd day of the month, but your guess is as good as mine as to when that would fall this year.

The second, falling only three days later, is called the Plynteria and is the goddess’s bathday. The goddess, in this case, still being the Athena Polias, for whom the city of Athens is named. The very modest goddess is stripped of her clothes and jewelry by the participating women, then She is taken down to the shore and washed – but only the few select are allowed to see her naked.

Happy Spring Cleaning everyone!

P.S. Thanks to Iakkhodotos for the info on these!


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