Pausanias explains why every fourteen years, the people of Platea in Boeotia (central Greece) celebrated the festival of the Greater Daedala, in which a female figure carved from oak and dressed in a bridal gown was taken by cart to the River Asopos, and sacrifices were offered on Mt Cithaeron.
IN Platea there is a temple to Hera, worth seeing for the size and quality of its statues. They call her ‘the Bride’, for the following reason.
Apparently, Hera was angry with Zeus over something or other, and removed to Euboea. When he failed to persuade her to change her mind, Zeus went to consult Cithaeron.
At that time he was the ruler in Platea, and no man was wiser.
Cithaeron told Zeus to make a wooden figure, wrap it up well and set it rolling on an ox-cart, with a proclamation that he was celebrating his marriage to Platea, daughter of Asopos.*
Zeus followed Cithaerus’s instructions to the letter.
No sooner had Hera learnt about the ‘wedding’ than she was on the spot. She boarded the cart and ripped away the figure’s clothing — only to find a wooden carving, instead of a maiden bride.
So charmed was she by the hoax, that she kissed and made up with Zeus.
* According to wider mythology, Platea was a Naiad, one of the twenty daughters of the river-god Asopos.