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“Take, Skamandros, My Virginity”: Ideas Of Water In Connection With Rites Of Passage In Greece, Modern And Ancient

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Chapter Summary

This chapter compares the importance of water in religious rituals linked to life-cycle passages in modern and ancient Greece. It focuses on girls entering their womanhood and marriage. The male sphere is usually connected with the official world, and the female with the domestic world, but this does not imply that the female sphere is marginal as some researchers have claimed. August 15th marks the end of the fifteen-day fast in honor of the Panagia. Holy water is found in all modern Greek sanctuaries, but some sanctuaries offer particularly wondrous water and these have their own legend attached to it. The chapter examines the myth about the Danaids, being on the threshold of marriage and illustrates an initiation ritual performed by girls before marriage, in a watery context. Rivers have a central role in wedding rituals. Many Western scholars describe ancient Greek women as downtrodden and reclusive female creatures.

Keywords: Danaids; female sphere; Greek sanctuaries; Panagia; wedding rituals



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