A Month of Devotional Thought — Hera, Day 11

Today’s topic is about festivals, days, and times that are sacred to Hera. There are few references to ancient festivals in her honor that I was able to uncover. It is notable however that one of them was the Heraian festival and games held in her honor at Argos (Sparta). Also, one of the annual festivals that is celebrated in her honor (as well as Zeus’) is the Theogamia festival which gave the name to the month of Gamelion in the Attic festival calendar. The Theogamia was a festival honoring her marriage to Zeus and is thought to give rise to the month of February being associated with marriage in the modern era as well.

There is also a minor festival on the Attic calendar that was celebrated by one of the demoi that made up ancient Athens. The festival of Hera Telkhinia was found in the Athenian demos of Erchia, but unfortunately not much is known of this festival or the meaning of the cult title involved with it. Hera’s title bears similarities to a similar one of Apollon which has ties to the Minoan metalworkers, but without more evidence, it is only an inference to assume that Hera’s title has similar ties.

In the modern era, one of the annual festivals that devotees can celebrate in honor of Hera is the anniversary of their own marriage. This honors Hera as Gamelia and cements her role as the protector of marriage. Also, because Hera is one of the goddesses that protect women during childbirth, I would argue that giving offerings to Hera on the birthdays of our children would not be inappropriate.

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