How many of you ever heard of Dionysus? Perhaps you know him by his Roman name, Bacchus. Check Wikipedia, it will tell you Dionysus is Greek mythology’s god of the grape harvest, winemaking, wine, ritual madness, and ecstasy. In other words, he’s the original party animal.
Greek legends report on Dionysus’ mythical carryings on as a son of Zeus, and ancient historians tell of festivals held in his honor starting around the 6th and 5th Centuries BCE. Those Dionysia festivals took place twice a year, once around the vernal equinox (March-April) in Athens during its busiest time (City Dionysia), and again around the winter solstice (December-January) in the wine harvest regions (Rural Dionysia). The festivals generally involved dramatic presentations, feasting, processions of carried and pulled phalluses (Wikipedia’s description, not mine), and drunken revelry in the streets.
Dionysus’ origins are uncertain and he’s often depicted as a naked or half-naked androgynous youth possessing minions of “wild female followers” and “bearded satyrs with erect penises.”
This week I had an epiphany: That guy Dionysus must have a summerhouse on Mykonos.
For ninety days (mid-June to mid-September) this place is all about paying homage to him. And paying is the operative word. Think NYC prices with euro signs in place of dollar signs. But that’s old news. Besides, a 24/7 party atmosphere lures those willing to pay for the experience. And they come in droves, not wincing at 1000 euro per night hotel rooms or 10,000 euros per day and higher priced villas. Yes, there are more reasonable accommodations available, but virtually all come here driven to be part of the buzz generated by the glitz of a money’s-no-object summer time attitude reflected in the phrase emblazoned across the top-selling souvenir t-shirt on Mykonos: MYKONOS FUCKS IBIZA.
Yes, Dionysus has brought prosperity to Mykonos. One could even argue Dionysus is now the island’s patron. He’s brought them money, and more money, and even more money. And all he’s asked in return is a bit of respect for the practice of his traditions.
And so his followers party as they wish, their vices regarded as holiday indulgences, and the rules they live by back home suspended. In summer, all Mykonos now caters to the god Dionysus and his followers.
Come September the visitors will leave, the off-islanders who come here only to profit off the island’s summer ecstasy will be gone...leaving Mykonos to the Mykonians to clean up and ready for the prayed for return of great god Dionysus and his followers.
|By Mark Cross|
But ye who place your island in the hands of Dionysus beware, for in Greek mythology Dionysus was a dying god, one torn to pieces by Titans who lured him with toys.
And for those who might claim his pieces were picked up, stitched together, and brought back to life, I have it on good authority the resurrection was a long and painful process.