Sydney Beer Week just finished up and while every week at Dave’s is a Sydney Beer Week, it got us thinking about other historically allotted times we honour beer around the world. Usually they are associated with a beer god, but we don’t have one of those in Sydney….or do we?
Ninkasi was the Sumerian goddess of beer and she was honoured daily by the making of fresh beer. ‘The Hymn to Ninkasi’ is a recipe for making beer, so its not so much a festival, but a daily ritual which we think should be the cornerstone of any good god worship.
Saint Arnould is the patron saint of brewers and Belgians bless a barrel of beer on Brewers Day to celebrate. Oktoberfest is held in Munich and is the most famous beerfest. It’s not really god related, more to do with royals getting married and if you have to sit through a royal wedding you’re gonna need a drink. Munich’s name ‘Munchen’ does mean ‘Monk’ and they made the beer of course, so it is god-ish.
Silenus was god of beer to the Greeks and he was usually hanging around with his mate Dionysus. Dionysus started out as a god of beer, then was the god of wine/alcoholic drink along with ritual madness and ecstasy. The Romans called Dionysus ‘Bacchus’ and you will have to do some of your own reading on what happened at the Bacchanalia, but rest assured, it was festive.
So where is the Sydney Beer god alluded too earlier? Well, the name Dionysus, becomes the modern Dennis or Denis (if you’re French). Saint Denis (pronounced ‘sawn denee’) named after him which corrupted and became ‘Sydney’. was a French saint who had a town ‘Saint Denis’ named after him which corrupted and became ‘Sydney’. In Britain, Thomas Townshend was titled Viscount Sydney and was home secretary when he had both Sydney, Australia and Sydney in Canada named after him. So there you have it, Dionysus, the Greek god of beer/alcoholic drinks and is also the namesake of Sydney and Sydney Beer Week.