Tag Archives: Ancient Roman festivals

Neptunalia

I went out to my garden one night last week to see the International Space Station transit overhead. Before it appeared, I kept on mistaking it for a firefly. But then there it was, brighter than Sirius and even the … Continue reading

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Festival of Juno Caprotina and more on. . .

Juno Caprotina was a Roman goddess of fertility with a cult-like following, especially among enslaved women; geese, believe it or not, were sacred to Juno. I’ll let you guess who that brings to mind. I did have another thought about … Continue reading

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St. John and the Romans and St. Bartholomew, all at once

It’s quite a busy day today: there’s John the Baptist, of course, but also the Roman Solstitium, called the dies lampadarum, or “day of torches.” It’s hot in Rome now, just as it must have been then; and, finally, here … Continue reading

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Summanus

You’re supposed to bake a little cake today and offer it to Summanus, the Roman god of thunder during the night. Maybe this will help us with all our thunder during the night. If you want to get rid of … Continue reading

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Festivals of Maia and Mercury

Mercury, Roman god of business and commerce, was the son of Maia; Maia was the oldest sister of the Pleiades. In Japan, “Subaru” is the word for the Pleiades (and the star cluster is their logo). Kind of a strange … Continue reading

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Syncretism and palimpsests

Imagine all the pagan holidays inscribed on a great scroll, and the Catholic Church in need of converts. What they did was pretty clever: they overwrote their own stuff (making a palimpsest), called the new holidays holy days (the syncretism … Continue reading

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The Lemuria

It was May month, named for our ancestors (maiores), And a relic of the old custom still continues. When midnight comes, lending silence to sleep, And all the dogs and hedgerow birds are quiet, He who remembers ancient rites, and … Continue reading

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