Regional chants and friendship celebrations... in Ancient Greece
The Greeks came to associate drinking wine with civilised culture, distinguishing themselves from the barbarians who drank beer or, worse, undiluted wine. Because the Greeks did not drink wine neat, they added water to wine - never the other way around - and always in a higher proportion of water to wine (a mixture of equal parts was considered strong wine).
If there was one ritual associated with wine drinking in Greece, it was the symposium. It was the time for drinking and chatting among the guests after the main meal(deipnon) was over. At the end of the meal, the servants cleared the tables, adorned the guests with wreaths of ivy, poured some perfumes over them, began to circulate cups that were filled in the crater (vessels made of clay where water and wine were mixed for the guests), a referee was chosen for the chats and the hetairas entertained the party with their dances and music.
The toasts and the following chats went on merrily into the night and ended with a game of " cotabo ", or "commissariat".
An important figure in this ritual was the symposiumwho could be the host or someone from the group chosen by vote. He was the one who decided the proportion of the mixture and the number of craters to be served. Normally, for a quiet meeting, there were three; from the fourth onwards, regional songs and displays of friendship began to be sung; with the fifth, the furniture was endangered and philosophical talks turned into heated discussions; with the sixth, words turned to hands....And although it was normal for the symposium to begin and end at the host's house, with everyone returning to their own home or sleeping it off wherever they happened to be, sometimes the party continued in the street...it was the komos. The guests, accompanied by the music, continued the party in the streets, like friends on a night out(komoidos), singing burlesque songs, songs of political satire or simple current events -like our chirigotas-. Depending on the degree of drunkenness, and the amount of raves consumed, the party could end up in the "police station" for fights and acts of vandalism... Maybe we haven't changed so much.
Although in keeping with the burlesque and satirical tone, over time these night singers(komoidós) went from singing to performing short theatrical pieces. These pieces were called komoidía, a word that passed into Latin as comoedĭa and hence our comedy.
Nowadays, the symposium has an academic character, in the form of seminars, where ideas or new discoveries are exchanged and debate is encouraged. However, the recreational part (wine and hetairas) has been eliminated, or so say the attendees.