Ancient Roman holidays &
by emily deal
Ancient roman calendars were a little different than ours for, example their weeks were eight days long. The eight days didn't even have names, they were just letters. A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H. On the eighth day of the week, H, a regular school holiday, kind of like our weekends. It was called Market Day, the meant for washing your whole body and going to market to get the food for the week. The series of letters, days, started on January 1st and started again every year January 1st (60).
On January 9th the Ancient Romans held a festival called Agnolia to Janus, god of gates and doorways. Janus was very important because the Romans believed that doorways were the weakest points on any building. "In 260 BC the Romans built an important gateway temple to Janus after a victory against the previously unbeatable Carthaginian fleet. This was left open in times of war and closed when the armies had returned to the city" (Richard M. Heli, Ancient Roman Holidays & Festivals).which is puzzling, but the meaning for it was so that while it was open Janus would be out fighting for Rome and when it was closed it meant that the God would not leave Rome (Richard M. Heli, Ancient Roman Holidays & Festivals).
February, in Ancient Rome, was the official beginning of Spring and was considered a time for purification. On the 15th there was a festival called Lupercalia, which was started early in the day in the cave of Lupercal. Goats and one dog were sacrificed for the festival. Two teams of youths, each having a captain, dressed in the goat skins covered in blood. They would then run through the streets whipping people with the strips of goatskin, Februa
. A woman hoping to
produce a male child would try to get struck by the leather strap of lupercus
(wolf). The festival
was later taken over by Christians and changed into the modern day Valentine's Day (Richard M. Heli, Ancient Roman Holidays & Festivals).
On March 15th, the day Julius Caesar was killed, the Ides of March were celebrated. This observance was previously held on New Year's Day, festival to Anna Perenna the goddess of the new year. People would lay about on the river bank and drink one drink for every year longer they wanted to live (Richard M. Heli, Ancient Roman Holidays & Festivals).
In April, the Ludi Florales festival took place from April 20th to May 3rd. The festival was to the goddess of flowers, Flora, and it was a celebration of fertility. Presumably the crops would have been sown, just before the festival and warmer weather. The tables were piled high with flowers and people wore bright garlands of flowers. It was a very important festival for vine growers (Richard M. Heli, Ancient Roman Holidays & Festivals).
May 23rd, Tubilustrium, was a festival to Vulcan, who is responsible for the making of sacred war trumpets(tubas). A female lamb was sacrificed in the hall of shoemakers. On June 21st or 23rd, black day, it was considered an unlucky day since it marked the anniversary of the defeat to Hannibal in 217 BC (Richard M. Heli, Ancient Roman Holidays & Festivals).
The festival Furrinalia, July 25th, was to Furrina, a very early goddess associated with water. Furrina had a priestess dedicated to her and her sacred grove, where the festival was
celebrated. The festival was meant to make sure there was no drought in the Summer (Richard M. Heli, Ancient Roman Holidays & Festivals).
August 23rd, Vulcanalia, to Vulcan, God of lifesustaining fire. The holiday was celebrated to avoid the fire burning almost ripe crops. The Romans would start the day by the light of a light of a candle to demonstrate a beneficial use of fire, they would also hang their ...
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