"The Greek god of wine hates those who don't do their best days and fabulous nights to live happily"

Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and harvest, got his place among the 12 Olympian gods, according to the myth writer Apollodor, despite only being half divine. Probably because of his popular invention! His father is Zeus, but his mother was an ordinary woman called Semele.

Well, not quite ordinary, as she was the daughter of the king of Thebes and his wife Harmonia. She was in love with Zeus, but Hera got word of it and tricked Semele to ask to see Zeus. As Zeus reveled himself in a flash of lightning Semele caught fire. The unborn child was saved from the ashes and Zeus implanted him in his thigh. Dionysus was born again, but the jealous Hera sent the Titans to tear him to pieces. This time he was saved by his grandmother, the Titaness Rhea and left to be raised with his mother’s sisters, Agave and Ino. But Hera was still mad, and made sure that the entire family was hit by madness. Now Zeus took over and made sure the young Dionysus could grow up in safety among the mountain nymphs. In these mountains he supposedly learned to cultivate wine.

There are different theories about the birth place of Dionysus, but according to some myths he was born right here in our local mountain, Pangeo.At least it's for sure that the Dionysus cult was especially strong in Thrace and Macedonia, and especially in the region of the Pangeo mountains, where he was worshiped by a local tribe called the Edonians. Today, we also remember the Dionysus cult for the so-called orgies - here women called Maenades, who were dressed in saffron-coloured frocks and wore a wreath of ivy around their head, would dance themselves into ecstasy and catch any wild animal they saw and tear it into pieces.

Dionysus went on a long journey to Asia Minor and India to promote the cultivating of grapes and to establish himself as the Greek god of wine. He was sitting in a chariot dragged by a tiger and a lion, dressed in the skin of a panther, carrying his thyrsos stick. He was accompanied by satyrs and silenis, who were creatures with horse ears and tails and with a huge phallos, a symbol of the fertility and sexual force associated with Dionysus. Many of the symbols from the ancient cult of Dionysus has survived and is found in the carnival celebration late winter in modern Greece.

On his way back to Greece he passed by the island Naxos, where he married Ariadne, the daughter of king Minos (who was devastated after the hero Theseus had left her). Ariadne and Dionysus had several children together. Dionysus stayed faithful to her and when she died he put the crown he had given her as a gift on their wedding day on the sky.

The Greek god of wine is often pictured wearing a wrath of vine. This was supposed to prevent headache from drinking too much, and is also said to be the origin of king and queens wearing a crown…

Dionysus supposedly was a quiet and peaceful man, who didn’t want people to get drunk, just to be happy and relaxed. Euripides (who died in 406 BC) wrote that the son of Zeus hated those who didn’t do their best days and fabulous nights to live happily.

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