Monday, February 20, 2006

Ante Diem IX Kalendas March

Modern Date : February 21st

Ante Diem IX Kalendas March
Ninth Day to the Kalends of March

This is one of the dies fasti on which legal actions are permitted.

The Feralia
This is the last day of the Parentalia and the temples would be opened at noon. The Feralia is a religious holiday sacred to Jupiter, whose surname was Feretrius. On this day the ongoing celebrations forming part of the dies parentalis and the tempus religiosum came to a close.

Some sources say Feralia lasted for one day only, which is variously stated as the 17th and 21st. Others extend it over a period of 11 days, from the night of the 8th to the day of the 18th. Instituted by Numa Pompilius, this is the last day of Mania and Parentalia. Family reunions are held and the Lares, the ancestral spirits guarding homes, are honored. This is the Roman All Souls' Day, during which each household makes offerings at the graves of its dead. The spirits of the dead are abroad in the world and hover over their graves. Food and goods are left to appease them. Mania takes part in the festivals of the Compitalia and the Feralia.

"Votive garlands, a sprinkling of grain, a few grains of salt, bread soaked in wine and some loose violets; these are enough; set these on a potsherd and leave it in the middle of the path. Now doth the ghost fatten upon his dole," wrote Ovid.

According to Blackburn(Oxford Companion to the Year), an ugly old woman, surrounded by girls, performed rituals to appease the Silent Goddess, a gossiping nymph whose tongue was plucked out by Jupiter. The rituals included putting incense in mouseholes and casting spells over threads and tying them to pieces of lead. While holding seven beans in her mouth, the old woman roasted a fish-head sealed with pitch, pierced with a pin and sprinkled with wine, and then drank the rest of the wine herself, giving a little to the girls. The point of these rituals was to bind the tongues of others so they couldn't do harm.

February is a month sacred to the gods Mars (as Quirinus, or Romulus) and Juno, the wife of Jupiter. Juno (Hera) was the mother of Mars, called Ares by the Greeks, and sometimes Enyalius. Ares was often accompanied in his bloody campaigns by Enyo, the murderess goddess of war who was known as Bellona by the Romans. Ares paid no attention to which cause was right or wrong and was concerned only with where he could cause maximum carnage. The Romans held a milder, more honorable view of Mars, honoring him as the son of Zeus and the father of Romulus.

Day of Nut
In Egypt, this was the Day of Nut. She was the goddess of the sky and the heavens. The Egyptians believed that the world had been created by a divine act of sex between the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut. Of necessity, the goddess Nut was on top, while Geb reclined.

Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries
Among the ancient Athenians, and pilgrims from throughout the Greek world, these days are the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries, celebrating the transformation of the Winter goddess Persephone back into her Spring aspect as Kore, and her annual marriage to Dionysus. This rite heralds the coming of Spring at the Equinox. Note that while the Greater Mysteries of summer culminate at the Full Moon in Virgo, the Lesser Mysteries begin at the New Moon in Pisces.


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