Bathtub assignment: a new festival for Hermes

I’m sure there’s a reason I get ideas while sitting in the tub, unable to write them down.  Maybe it’s because if I were driving I might try to write them down, which surely wouldn’t end well.  This week I got the idea to

celebrate the secular holiday season with a festival to one of my favorite aspects of Hermes, Agaraios, which effectively means “of the marketplace.”  Let the fun begin.

The festival is going be held in early December (specifically the 4th of Poseideon, because the fourth day of the month is sacred to Hermes; my calculations are not always successful but I think that falls on December 6), and serve as an opening of the marketplace for the madcapitalist mayhem which traditionally ensues for the various holidays that a friend of mine has chosen to replace with something she calls “Giftmas.”

What I can say for sure is that I’ve no real experience creating a festival for a god — the only other one I have invented is agricultural, an unnamed festival of lilies in the summer.  I would be interested in knowing how others structure their day when they create solo festivals.  I know what sorts of things I want to do, though:

  • Buy a gift for each person in my immediate sphere, even if it’s a small one.
  • Give away our offering jar to a family I have identified; we’ve been filling this jar with cash all year for this purpose.  (I put money in whenever I experience a stroke of luck, on Wednesdays, the fourth of the month, and whenever else the mood strikes me.)
  • Make some kind of meal.
There will also be purification, tossing of barley, libations, frankincense, offerings of coins . . . more of my usual offerings.
I am not nervous about this, but I am excited.  I think that giving away a bunch of money to an unsuspecting family will get me in the mood for the holidays, which in the past have sometimes felt very empty because it was someone else’s holidays.  Yule was okay, but it never felt quite the same.  Perhaps starting off the season with my own take on Hermaia Agoraia will help that.

10 thoughts on “Bathtub assignment: a new festival for Hermes

  1. I was moved to read the part about gifting your offering jar to an unsuspecting family. So, a thank you, from my gods and me.
    Also thought I'd mention that Laurelin Community's “Krampusnacht” is December 7th this year. I don't know if that helps!
    Lastly, I immediately thought that the main ritual should be held in and around your bathtub, rubber duckies or not…. a place of intuitive insights, cleansing (obviously), and a perfect metaphor of “pulling the plug on 2013”. That may not be Hermes-ically appropriate, I don;t know, but, there it is.


  2. What would I do without your insights, Andy?

    There's a big Krampusnacht festival near here as well; technically it's a Sinterklaas shindig complete with the whole cast crossing the Hudson and arriving by boat, but the Krampus is the star in my eyes. It happens on the sixth and is likely to be included in the festival, somehow.

    As for incorporating the end of the year and the bathtub . . . hmm. It would certainly not be the first time bathtubs were part of ringing in the new year for me and mine:


  3. I like this idea. I'm going to contemplate if I can work it into my Holiday Season cycle. With NewYears being the day of gifts (as we give the new Year gifts for a new beginning, and the old Year distributes his acquired wealth) He is welcome.

    I may decide not to, as He already has days at the opening and closing of the Summer Season, when my little town makes most of it's money from tourists. But it's good to ponder Their places in your life, so thank you.


  4. Drekfletch, I had not considered the tourist season, but that's a wonderful idea in its own right. My town has both tourists and a college, each with its own cycles of economic activity. It could result in a pretty full festival schedule. Thanks for the idea!


  5. My town's population quadruples in the summer, it's kind of hard to ignore. (We go from 6k to 25k)

    Once you start focusing locally, even if you worship foreign gods, you quickly end up with a decently active calendar.


  6. This reminds me of a post I once read on the House of Vines by Sannion that mentioned doing a marketplace oracle for Hermes. Seems like it would fit in great with this festival. I believe it started off by making an offering to Hermes and stating a question, then going to market and recording the first snatches of conversation that you heard as an answer.

    I’ve been working on building a festival calendar for myself, so I hope you don’t mind if I snatch this one from you as I’ve fallen in love with it. I can’t think of a more appropriate time to honor Hermes of the Market than during the Christmas holiday shopping rush, heh.


    1. I’ve heard something similar to that Hermes oracle before, but I hadn’t put them all together. Thank you for seeing what hadn’t!


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