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The Panathenaic Way was named after the procession which took place during the festival of the Panathenaia. This festival was celebrated once every year and started on Athena's birthday and the anniversary of the battle between the gods and giants.

It wound its way from one of the city gates through the market place towards the Acropolis and the Propylaia. The procession passed the north side of the Parthenon before stopping at the altar of Athena.

Sacrifices were made at the altar of Athena and the peplos, a new garment woven for Athena, was handed over to the Priestess. This was the high point of the Panathenaia.

Weaving was a female craft which was normally done in the home. To have a main festival include such a female activity was a very public sign of its importance to the people of Athens.