His fingers strummed a nervous beat against the package behind he held, wrapped in layers of brown paper to protect the book inside and tied snugly with a silk ribbon. “There was a poet that used to live not too far from me. I’ll admit, I found myself asking too many questions about talking ravens while trying to read his works, but it is different.” He paused, hopeful that his next words wouldn’t be misconstrued as an insult. “Just as you are different from so many others in this quaint city, so I thought you might be able to enjoy it.” At last, passing forward the surprise gift to an old friend.
Anthesteria: the Ancient Greek Equivalent of a Music Festival
A three-day festival held in all the Ionian Greek cities, in the spring. Because Athenians liked to write things down on random items like pottery, we know the most about how Athens celebrated Anthesteria. On the first day, it was known as “Pithoigia” which means “the opening of the jars.” That’s when everyone would get to taste, for the first time, the wine that had fermented over the winter. Kids would often be put on swings, evoking the myth of how Dionysus first gave wine to man. That is all I will say on that subject, because the full story is pretty macabre.
The second day was known as “Choes.” This was the day that everyone went crazy. People dressed up and imitated the mythical followers of Dionysus, like naenads and satyrs. This was one of the only times that Greeks would drink unmixed wine. Normally, there were very strict rules about how you watered down wine. So as you can imagine, the Greeks would get pretty fucked up. It was a festival designed to evoke a more primitive time, and it was believed the souls of the dead came out to walk – and party – with the living. Social hierarchies were turned on their head - men would chase after women and women could (gasp) refuse them!
The third day was “Chytroi” which roughly translates to “feast of the pots.” A pot of gruel or lentils would be sacrified to Dionysus. It was the day the Greeks would go back in time – before animal sacrifice, before gods, and before wine. This was the day everyone was really hungover, and since they did not drink, it was probably pretty bad.
“Okay,” Nico huffed to himself, the bright glow of the tablet he’d smuggled into camp lighting up his face. “Okay, di Angelo, you can do this.”
He was currently buried under the comforter on his bunk in the Hades cabin, slotted away in his own personal cave of blankets. He hunched over his tablet, tapping at the keys with his headphones plugged in, eyes glued to the screen as he turned down corridor after corridor, making sure to keep a watch on the battery in the corner that was glowing green.
Technically, Nico knew technology wasn’t allowed in camp, because of the signals and safety and blah, blah, blah. But, Nico was also just a few days away from being fifteen, and rules had always been a grey area for him, really. Not to mention, it wasn’t like he had any actual signal. The game was downloaded.
He’d heard about this game when he’d gone to visit his dad the other week, the spirits of recently dead kids whispering about it to him from the shadows. Call it morbid if you will that some of Nico’s closest friends were dead, but give him a break. He was the Skeleton King, after all.