The Dionysia/The Festival of St Trifon - Calendar of Revelry and Sacred Days

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

The Dionysia/The Festival of St Trifon
Calendar of Revelry and Sacred Days

In many cultures, milk is a drink reserved for children. Adults must find alternatives. Dionysus, Lord of Wine, is believed to have first emerged as a prominent power in Thrace, present-day Bulgaria. Wine is his sacrament; an ancient legend proclaims that Dionysus was able to convert water into wine.

Various festivals were held in his honor, characterized by ecstasy and intoxication (and also theatrical competitions!) as befitting this shamanic deity. Dionysus is not a fire deity, quite the contrary; liquid devotions are more his style. However in some areas devotion to Dionysus included snake handling and sometimes fire-walking (the shamanic feat of walking over glowing coals). This particular festival corresponds to the time when casks of new wine were annually, traditionally opened and enjoyed.

When Bulgaria became Christian, names of festivals were changed. However, the celebrations survived. St Trifon is now the patron saint of viticulture. Ritual purifications of the vineyards were once held in February. Today St Trifon’s Day honors the fruit of the vine, the vintners who create it, the deities who oversee it, and all those who enjoy it. Dates of the festival vary depending upon location; sometimes it is early in February, the third or fourth day (and because of the nature of the celebration, there is a tendency perhaps to linger). Other communities celebrate St Trifon on February 15th; Valentine’s Day festivities, which were largely unknown in Bulgaria until recently, have crept in and so now the wine is frequently accompanied by chocolate hearts. (See Lupercalia, page 209.)