As I'm slowly coming full circle on a year of blogging, I realize I have spoken about many of the festivals that occur throughout the year, and which are now reoccurring. The Arrephoria is the first of the festivals which comes upon me while I have already written about it, and so I must find a way to deal with this now. I have decided to make a reminder post about the festival--sometimes as an extra post for the day, sometimes as a stand-alone post if I have anything new to add to the festival or a topic surrounding it. The posts will look something like this:

Today, 3 Skirophorion, the Arrephoria was celebrated in ancient Hellas. The Arrephoria was a rite of passage for young priestesses of Athena Polias. The rite itself, where the girls journeyed into a cave with baskets on their heads, filled with something the girls were not informed of, was most likely celebrated at the start of Skirophorion. The date of the rite would most likely have varied, although we place it on the third of the month--Athena's sacred day--for convenience sake. The rite was most performed when the first dew settled on Athena's sacred olive tree on top of the Acropolis--very near where the girls were housed--as one of the most important functions of the rite was to ask Athena for a successful olive harvest--for which the first dew around this time of year was vitally important.

The term the Arrephoroi served, as well as the Arrephoria itself taught these children, often no older than ten years old, the most important aspects of the work of women; weaving (through the peplos they created throughout the year), baking (through the cakes they prepared for various festivals of Athena), and caring for children (through the carrying of the baskets in secret during the Arrephoria). They were taught responsibility, and service to the divine. After they were dismissed, the girls were too young to partake in the next step phase of their lives--marriage--and so they went back home, where they waited to be old enough to perform for Artemis and leave their childhood behind.

Read more about the festival: here.

Extra information: throughout their year of service, the Arrephoroi wore white and were not allowed to have any gold jewelry or ornamentation as that was thought of as sensual.