Dr. Aikaterini Polymerou – Kamilaki,
Hon. Researcher, former Director of the Centre for the Study of Greek Folklore of the Academy of Athens
The knowledge of cultivation of the land, a gift from the goddess Demeter to the inhabitants of Attica, as well as organized agriculture, both contributed in establishing for the first time the “institutions” (“thesmous” in Greek) for society. As a result, the goddess had the nomenclature Thesmophoros conferred upon her, hence the Thesmoforia, festivals in her honour, came into being. During these celebrations, among other things, the quality of the fruit produced was checked by the electors and seeds were collected from the sacred fields under the Acropolis for the reproduction of crops, ensuring biodiversity and local varieties.
The Athenians were proud that they were the first among humans to be taught by the goddess Demeter the cultivation of fruits and the Eleusinian ceremony. Particularly in the context of the Eleusinian Mysteries, they elevated this “privilege” to a major bargaining chip against their allies and enemies, garnering the respect of humanity for the generosity they had shown in sharing the teachings of Mother Earth.
Let us give back to the land of Attica its sanctity by respectfully safeguarding the few suburban cultivable and forested areas.