In Greek tradition, the bloody sacrifices began with a procession led by a virgin with a basket of bread, cereal grains and the “sacrificial knife”.
The sacrifices were marked by the alternation of music, silence and invocations.
The flute gave vitality to the rite and accompanied some of its moments. In the sacrificial act music helped to underline the solemnity of the ceremony.
In this way, the participants were more predisposed to religious sentiment and sacred action.
Following prayers and the throwing of cereal grains, the victim was slaughtered, after which the music stopped and the women began to shout.
During the sacrifice, the figure of the chef (mageiros) was fundamental.
The mageiros held the role of butcher and sacrificer.
Their work involved the trade of meat, killing the victim, and preparing the food.
Of these three roles, the cook was undoubtedly the most familiar: the mageiros would light the fire, set the table, knead the flat bread, season the meal with local spices and cut the meat on the sacrificial table.
Cooking should not, moreover, be confused with hunting. Wild animals could not be offered to the gods; only domestic animals were sacrificed and eaten.
Believed to be of divine origin, perfumes were essential in the celebration of worship.
Birth, marriage and death were always accompanied by fumigations and perfumed unctions with purifying properties.
Fragrances also played an essential role in funerals, because they facilitated the passage to the afterlife. The dead were wrapped in perfumed sheets or buried with precious containers and fragrant plants.
Even during sacrifices, essences permeated the atmosphere of the places and were greatly important. After the animal offerings, natural resins with intense notes such as myrrh and incense were burned on the altar.
The Greek poet Hesiod, in his mythological poem Theogony, wrote about “fragrant altars.”