Juno Covella - April


Goddesses of the Calendar Month:






Terra, the earth


Easter, Eostree, Goddess of Light and Spring

The Feminine Principle




Roman: CERES. (Brewer, Dict.) “April Fool Perhaps it may be a relic of the Roman ‘Cerealia’, held at the beginning of April”. See also under April 12th.

Roman: CONCORDIA, VENUS and FORTUNA; The Veneralia. (Seyffert, Dict.) “Concordia ... The goddess Concordia was also invoked with Venus and Fortuna, by married women on the 1st of April”.

(Ovid, Fasti, IV. 133) “April 1st Duly do ye worship the goddess (i.e. -Venus), ye Latin mothers and brides, and ye, too, who wear not the fillets and long robe (Frazer: ‘courtesans’). Take off the golden necklaces from the marble neck of the goddess; take off her gauds; the goddess must be washed from top to toe. Then dry her neck and restore to it her golden necklaces; now give her other flowers, now give her the fresh-blown rose. Ye, too, she herself bids bathe under the green myrtle ... Learn now why ye give incense to Fortuna Virilis in the place which reeks of warm water. All women strip when they enter that place … Propitiate her with suplications; beauty and fortune and good fame are in her keeping”. (Plutarch, Lives, Numa) on the month of April; “the women bathe on the calends, or first day of it, with myrtle garlands on their heads.”

(Philocalus, Kal. Anno 345) “April 1. Veneralia Ludi …”

(Montfaucon, Antiq. Suppl. p. 19) on the Calendar of Philocalus annexed to Valentine’s illustrations of the months (see under February): “in the Beginning of [April] there is read upon the Calends, Veneralia ludi, Senatus legitimus. Now, it’s possible these Veneralia, were feasts in honour of Venus, which they celebrated with publick Sports; which perfectly agrees ... with the Words of Ausonius. Before Venus there stands a Candlestick, with a Wax-taper lighted, in the Flame of which they burnt Grains of Incense. The lines of Ausonius are to this purpose: ‘April does Honour to Venus cover’d with Myrtle. With this Month is seen the Light of Incense, with which the beneficent Ceres shines. Nor are those Perfumes wanting which are always issue from the Paphian Goddess’.” See also under Ceres.

(Amhlaoibh O Súilleabháin (1835), cited by Danaher, The Year in Ireland, p. 84) “April Fools’ Day. A barbarous custom from pagan times is still established in Ireland, namely, to make an April Fool of a person. At the time when Venus was worshipped the first day of the month was a festival in her honour, and it was customary to play all sorts of low pranks to do her veneration.”

(Perp. Fest. Cal.) “April 1st: Aphrodite. Venus. Goddess of Beauty and Harmony”. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “April 1st: Aphrodite. Venus. Laughter, Sport, Friendliness”.

All Fools’ Day. (Brewer, Dict.) “April Fool ... In Hindustan similar tricks are played at the Huli Festival (March 31st). As March 25th used to be New Year’s Day, April 1st: was its octave, when its festivities culminated and ended”.

(Whistler, English Festivals, p. 108) “All Fools’ Day. April 1st. Between midnight and noon on April 1st: everyone is liable to be made a fool of; for it is the morning of the practical joke. But it is not enough to discomfort the victim; he must be induced to take action himself, sent on a ‘fool’s errand’, or anyway beguiled into some kind of credulous response ... Then, on the stroke of noon, it is finished”. (Druids Cal.)April 1. All Fools’ Day. Ancient prankish end to the celebrations of the vernal equinox”.


Phrygian: CYBELE, MAGNA MATER, The Great Mother, The Megalesia, First Day. (White, Dict.) “Megalensia or Megalesia; a festival in honour of the Magna Mater, celebrated annually on the 4th of April with processions and games: (Cicero, Fam. 2. 11. 2).”

(Cumont, Orient. Rel. p. 47) on the arrival of the holy stone image of Cybele at Rome:

“According to the [Sibylline] oracle the stone was received at Ostia by the first citizen of the land, an honour accorded to Scipio Nasica - and carried by the most esteemed matrons to the Palatine, where, hailed by the cheers of the multitude and surrounded by fumes of incense, it was solemnly installed (Nones of April, 204 before this era) ... A temple was erected to her on the summit of the Palatine, and every year a celebration enhanced by scenic plays, the Ludi Megalenses, commemorated the date of dedication of the sanctuary and the arrival of the goddess (April 4th -10th)”. (id. p. 52) “The holidays celebrated in her honour by the entire nation, the Megalensia were organized in conformity with Roman traditions”.

(Seyffert, Dict. Ceres) “The Patricians entertained each other with mutual hospitalities at the Megalesian games (April 4 - 10)”.

(Varro, Ling. Lat. VI. 15) “The Megalesia ‘Festival of the Great Mother’ is so called from the Greek (i.e. Megalé Métér), because by direction of the Sibylline Books the Great Mother was brought from King Attalus, from Pergama; there near the city-wall was the Megalesion, that is, the temple of -this goddess, whence she was brought to Rome”.

(Ovid, Fasti, IV. 179) “April, 4th ... Straightway the Berecynthian flute will blow a blast on its bent horn, and the festival of the Idaean Mother will have come ... the goddess herself will be borne with howls through the streets in the city’s midst. The stage is clattering, the games are calling. To your places, Quirites! and in the empty law-courts let the war of suitors cease! I would put many questions, but I am daunted by the shrill cymbal’s clash and the bent flute’s thrilling drone. ‘Grant me, goddess, someone whom I may question’. The Cybelean goddess spied her learned granddaughters (Frazer: ‘the Muses’) and bade them attend to my inquiry”. (id. 357) “I was about to ask why the Magelesia are the first games in the year in our city, when the goddess (i.e. the Muse Erato) took my meaning and said, ‘She gave birth to the gods. They gave place to the parent, and the Mother has the honour of precedence’ ”.

(Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “April 4. Ludi Megalesiaci”.

(Ausonius, Ecl. XXIII. 2) “On the Roman Festivals (2nd half of 4th cent) ... Now will I tell of the Mysteries of the Megalesian mother.”

CLAUDIA QUINTA, Priestess of Cybele. (Ovid, Fasti, IV. 291) The Muse Erato tells of the coming of Cybele’s image: “April 4th …‘She had arrived at Ostia, where the river Tiber divides to join the sea and flows with ampler sweep. All the knights and the grave senators, mixed with the common folk, came to meet her at the mouth of the Tuscan river. With them walked mothers and daughters and brides, and the virgins who tended the holy hearths. The men wearied their arms by tugging lustily at the rope ... Yet the ship stuck fast, like an island firmly fixed in the middle of the sea. Astonished at the portent, the men did stand and quake. Claudia Quinta ... whose beauty matched her nobility ... when she had stepped forth from the procession of chaste matrons ... thrice lifted her palms to heaven (all who looked on her thought she was out of her mind), and bending the knee she fixed her eyes on the image of the goddess, and with dishevelled hair uttered these words: ‘Thou fruitful Mother of the Gods, graciously accept thy suppliant’s prayers …’ She spoke, and drew the rope with a slight effort. My story is a strange one, but it is attested by the stage (Frazer: ‘It was probably acted at the Megalensia’). The goddess was moved, and followed her leader. Attended by a crowd, Claudia walked in front with joyful face ... The goddess herself, seated in a wagon, drove in through the Capene Gate; fresh flowers were scattered on the yoked oxen. Nasica received her”. (Propertius IV. 11. 52) “Claudia, the peerless priestess of the tower-crowned goddess”.

(Julian, Hymn to the Mother of the Gods, 159, D) on the same episode: “Claudia took off her girdle (note by Wright: ‘A matron in other versions’) and fastened it about the prow of the ship, and, like one divinely inspired, bade all stand aside; and then she besought the goddess ... And lo, she not only made the ship move, but even towed her for some distance up stream. Two things, I think, the goddess showed the Romans on that day; first that the freight they were bringing from Phrygia was ... truly divine, not lifeless clay but a thing of life and divine powers … And the other was that no one of the citizens could be good or bad and she not know thereof.” (id. 161 C) “I am told that on the same subject of which I am impelled to speak at the very season of these holy rites Porphyry too has written a philosophic treatise.” Note by Wright: “A relief in the Capitoline Museum shows Claudia in the act of dragging the ship”.


Phrygian: CYBELE; The Megalesia, Second Day.

Roman: FORTUNA. (Ovid, Fasti, IV. 373) “April 5th. When the next Dawn shall have shone in the sky, and the stars have vanished, and the Moon shall have unyoked her snow-white steeds, he who shall say, ‘On this day of old the temple of Public Fortune was dedicated on the hill of Quirinus’s will tell the truth”.

Chinese: KWAN-YIN. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “April 5th. Kwan-Shi-Yin, Goddess of Mercy”. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “April 5th: Kwan Yin (Chinese), Kwannon (Japanese). Mercy. Toleration, Understanding”.


Phrygian: CYBELE; The Megalesia, Third Day. (Ovid, Fasti, IV, 377) “April 6th. It was, I remember, the third day of the games, when a certain elderly man, who sat next to me at the show, observed to me ‘...This seat I won in war, and thou didst win in peace, by reason of thine office in the College of the Ten’. We were about to say more when a sudden shower of rain parted us; Libra hung in heaven released the heavenly waters”.


Phrygian: CYBELE; The Megalesia, Fourth Day.


Phrygian: CYBELE; The Megalesia, Fifth Day.


Phrygian: CYBELE; The Megalesia, Sixth Day. (Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “April 9. Megalesiaci.”

APRIL 10th

Phrygian: CYBELE; The Megalesia, Last Day. (Ovid. Fasti, IV. 389) “April 10th. When the next Dawn shall have looked on victorious Rome, and the stars shall have been put to flight and given place to the sun, the Circus will be thronged with a procession and an array of the deities, and the horses, fleet as the wind, will contend for the first palm.”

APRIL 11th

Roman: CERES; Ludi Cerealici. (Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “April 11. Ludi Cerealici.” See also April 12th.

APRIL 12th

Roman: CERES; The Cerealia, First Day (See also April 11). (Seyffert, Dict. Ceres) “The Cerealia, or games introduced at the founding of the temple of Ceres. Those held in later times were given by the aediles from the 12th - 19th April, and another festival to Ceres, held in August, was established”. (id.) “Just as the Patricians entertained each other with mutual hospitalities at the Megalesian games, so did the Plebeians at the Cerealia”.

(Ovid, Fasti, IV. 393) “April 12th. Next come the games of Ceres. There is no need to declare the reason; the bounty and services of the goddess are manifest. The bread of the first mortals consisted of the green herbs which the earth yielded without solicitation; and now they plucked the living grass from the turf, and now the tender leaves of tree-tops furnished a feast. Afterwards the acorn was produced ... Ceres was the first who invited man to better sustenance and exchanged acorns for more useful food. She forced bulls to yield their necks to the yoke; then for the first time the upturned soil beheld the sun ... Ceres delights in peace; and you, ye husbandmen, pray for perpetual peace and for a pacific prince. You may give the goddess spelt, and the compliment of spurting salt, and grains of incense on old hearths; and if there is no incense, kindle resinous torches. Good Ceres is content with little, if that little be but pure”. (id. 619) “White is Ceres’ proper colour; put on white robes at Ceres’ festival”.

Japanese: KAMO-TAMA-YORI-HIME; First Day of Festival. (Herbert, Shinto, p. 199) on the festival of O-yamakui-no-kami and his wife Kamo-tama-yori-hime, held on April 12 to 14th: “Each of them has two shrines, one for his (or her) entirety, and for his (or her) ara-mitama (i.e. soul, spirit, manifesting in the outside world), which amounts to four shrines in all.

“On the first day of the matsuri (i.e. religious festival) the two ara-mitama, whose shrines are side by side, are brought down in two mikoshi (i.e. portable shrines) and left in the haiden (i.e. hall for worship, adytum) of the main shrines consecrated to the nigi-mitama (i.e. soul, spirit, - consolidating the inner world) of the God. Then, at 9 p.m. they are ‘married’, i.e. the two mikoshi are joined, back to back, and they are left there all night”.

APRIL 13th

Roman: CERES; The Cerealia, Second Day.

LIBERTAS. (Ovid. Fasti, IV. 621) “April 13th.. On that day, too, if I mistake not, Liberty began to own a hall well worthy of our people”. (Frazer: “Atrium Libertatis, not far from the Forum”).

Japanese: KAMO-TAMA-YORI-HIME; Second Day of Festival. (Herbert, Shinto, p. 199) on this festival: “The next morning (i.e. April 13th) the two nigi-mitama are taken from the honden (i.e. adytum) of the two main shrines ... and installed in two other mikoshi. The four mikoshi are then brought into the haiden of another shrine, the Obuyu-jinja, and they are placed in separate compartments on a platform about thirty inches above ground. They are decorated with flowers, fruit, mirrors, paint-brushes and ‘anything that may amuse a child’. Children come to offer artificial flowers. And at 4 p.m. they are served tea, ‘because tea used to be considered a powerful tonic’. At 9 p.m. about a hundred men come to shake the four mikoshi violently for one and a half hours (i.e. the duration of the preliminaries of child-birth), while a shishimai (i.e. ritual dance) is performed for their benefit. They are thrown from the platform (that is the actual child-birth) and each mikoshi is taken back to its own shrine. The child-kami that was born [is] Kamo-waka-ikozuchi-no-kami”.

APRIL 14th

Roman: CERES; The Cerealia, Third Day.

Japanese: KAMO-TAMA-YORI-HIME; Third Day of the Festival.

APRIL 15th

Roman: CERES; The Cerealia, Fourth Day.

TELLUS, The Earth. (Seyffert, Dict.) “Tellus. The Italian deity of mother-earth, often called tellus mater. [A feast] was held on the 15th of April to insure plenty during the year, and was celebrated under the management of the pontifices and the Vestal Virgins, partly on the Capitol in the thirty curiae, and partly outside the town”.

(Fell. of Isis Dir.) “April 15th: Tellus. The Earth Goddess. Conservation. Respect for the environment. Veneration for the Earth Mothers”.

VENUS. (Ovid. Fasti, IV. 629 and 6-73) “April 15th. When the third day shall have dawned after the Ides of Venus ... This day once on a time Cytherea commanded to go faster and hurried the galloping horses down hill, that on the next day the youthful Augustus might receive the sooner the title of Emperor …” (Note by Frazer) “Venus, as the ancestress of the Julian house, is made to hasten the sun’s setting on April 15th.”

APRIL 16th

Roman: CERES; The Cerealia, Fifth Day.

APRIL 17th

Roman: CERES; The Cerealia, Sixth Day.

APRIL 18th

Roman: CERES; The Cerealia, Seventh Day.

APRIL 19th

Roman: CERES; The Cerealia, Last Day. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Cerealia, festivals in honour of Ceres; first instituted at Rome by Memmius the edile; and celebrated on the 19th of April ... They are the same as the Thesmophoria of the Greeks”. (Rose, O.C.D.) “Ceres … The occurrence of the Cerealia [19th April] on the calendars and the existence of a flamen Cerialia testify to the antiquity of Ceres’ cult at Rome”.

(Philocalus, Kal. anno 353) “April 19. Cerealici.”

APRIL 21st

Sun enters Taurus (tropical).

Roman: PALES: The Palilia, The Parilia. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Palilia, a festival celebrated by the Romans, in honour of the goddess Pales ... This festival was observed on the 21st of April, and it was during the celebration that Romulus first built his city. (Ovid. Met. and Fasti., Propert. Tibull.).” (Frazer, on Ovid, Fasti, p. 411) “The festival of the Parilia on the 21st of April is marked PAR in the Caeretan, Maffeian, and Praenestine calendars. The name is derived from that of the divinity Pales, in whose honour the festival was celebrated. Hence the more correct, though less usual, form of the name of the festival was Palilia”.

(Varro, Ling. Lat. IV. 15) “The Palilia ‘Festival of Pales’ was named from Pales, because it is a holiday in her honour, like the Cerialia, named from Ceres”.

(Ovid, Fasti, IV, 721) “April 21st. Night has gone, and Dawn rises. I am called upon to sing of the Parilia and not in vain shall be the call if kindly Pales favours me. O kindly Pales, favour me when I sing of pastoral rites, if I pay my respects to thy festival ... Sure it is I have leaped over the flames ranged three in a row, and the moist laurel-bough has sprinkled water on me …

“Ye people, go fetch materials for fumigation from the Virgins’ altar. Vesta will give them; by Vesta’s gift ye shall be pure Shepherd, do thou purify the well-fed sheep at fall of twilight; first sprinkle the ground with water. Deck the sheepfold with leaves and branches fastened to it. Adorn the door and cover it with a long festoon. Make blue smoke with pure sulphur, and let the sheep, touched with the smoking sulphur, bleat. Burn ... olives and pine and savines, and let the singed laurel crackle in the midst of the hearth. And let a basket of millet accompany cakes of millet; the rural goddess particularly delights in that food. Add viands, and a pail of milk, such as she loves; and when the viands have been cut up, pray to Sylvan Pales, offering warm milk to her. Say, ‘O, take thought alike for the cattle and the cattle’s masters; ward off from my stalls all harm. O let it flee away! If I have fed my sheep in holy ground, or sat me down under a hallowed tree ... if the nymphs and the half-goat god have been put to flight at sight of me; if my pruning-knife has robbed a holy copse of a shady bough ... pardon my fault ... forgive it, nymphs, if the trampling of hoofs has made your waters turbid. Do thou, goddess, appease for us the springs and their divinities; appease the deities dispersed through every grove ... Drive far away all diseases: may men and beasts be hale, and hale too the sagacious pack of watch-dogs. May I drive home my flocks as numerous as they were at morn ... Avert dire hunger. Let grass and leaves abound, and water both to wash and drink. Full udders may I milk; may my cheese bring me in money; may the sieve of wicker-work give passage to the liquid whey ... And let the wool grow so soft that it could not fret the skin of girls nor chafe the tenderest hands. May my prayer be granted, and we will year by year make great cakes for Pales, the shepherds’ mistress! With such things is the goddess to be propitiated; these things pronounce four times, facing the east, and wash thy hands in living dew. Then mayest thou get thee a wooden bowl to serve as mixer, and mayest quaff the snow-white milk, and purple must; anon leap with nimble foot arid straining thews across the burning heaps of crackling straw”.

(Silvius, Kal. anno 448) “April 21 Parilia, dicta de partus Iliae”.

(Frazer, on Ovid. Fasti. p. 411) “The Parilia ... The day was naturally a popular holiday, especially for the young. Athenaeus describes how a learned discussion was suddenly interrupted by a great uproar, in which the shrill music of fifes, the clash of cymbals, and the rub-a-dub of drums were blent with singing into a confused hubbub of sound; it was the people rejoicing at the coming of the Parilia ...

“The festival was essentially a rustic rite observed by shepherds and husbandmen for the good of their flocks and herds. This is well brought out by Ovid”.

(id. p. 412) “In Eastern Europe many analogous rites have been performed down to recent times, and probably still are performed for the same purpose, by shepherds and herdsmen on St. George’s Day, the 23rd of April, only two days after the Parilia, with which they may well be connected by descent from a common festival observed by pastoral Aryan peoples in the spring”.

(id. p. 415) “On St. George’s Day, which is the modern equivalent of the Parilia, Southern Slavonian peasants crown their cows with wreaths of flowers ... in the evening the wreaths are taken from the cows and fastened to the door of the cattle-stall, where they remain throughout the year till the next St. George’s Day. With the offerings (Ovid, IV. 745) and the prayer that accompanied them at the Parilia we may compare the ritual which herdsmen in the Highlands of Scotland used to observe and the prayers which they used to utter at Beltane, the festival which is the Celtic analogue of the Italian Paralia ... In this (i.e. Pennant’s) account of the Beltane festival the spilling of the caudle (composed partly of milk) on the ground answers to the offering of milk to Pales, and the Highland herdsman’s prayer to the being who preserved his flocks and herds corresponds to the prayer which the Italian shepherd addressed to Pales, as we learn from the following verses of Ovid. Tibullus tells us that it was his wont to purify his shepherd every year and to sprinkle Pales with milk, referring no doubt to the libation of milk to the goddess at the Parilia. Perhaps Ovid’s expression, ‘when the viands have been cut up’, is explained by the Beltane custom, described by Pennant, of breaking a cake of oatmeal in pieces and throwing the bits over the shoulder as offerings to the 88 preservers or destroyers of the flocks and herds. Among the viands so cut up at the Parilia were no doubt included the millet cakes mentioned by Ovid in a previous line. These the Italian shepherd, like the Highland herdsman, may have broken and thrown over his shoulder as an offering to Pales. Certainly the cakes were an important part of the festival.”

(id. Golden Bough abgd. p. 360) “A similar (i.e. as at Easter) displacement of two days in the adjustment of Christian to heathen celebrations occurs, in the festivals of St. George and the Assumption of the Virgin”.

(Warde Fowler cited by Stobart, The Grandeur that was Rome, p. 37) On the prayer offered at the Parilia, “The position (i.e. looking to the East), the holy water, and the prayer in its substance, though now addressed to the Virgin, have all descended to the Catholic Shepherds of the Campagna”.

ROMA, DEA ROMA; Natalis Urbis Romae, The Foundation Day of Rome, The Romaea. (Ovid, Met. XIV, 774) “the walls of Rome are built during the joyful festival of Pales.” (Cicero, De Div. II. xlvii) “our good friend Lucius Tarutius of Firmum, who was steeped in Chaldaic lore, made a calculation, based on the assumption that our city’s birthday was on the Parilia ... and from that calculation even went so far as to assert that Rome was born when the moon was in the sign of Libra and from that fact unhesitatingly prophesied her destiny”. (Plutarch, Lives, Romulus) “As for the day they began to build the city, it is universally agreed to have been the twenty-first of April, and that day the Romans annually keep holy, calling it their country’s birthday ... Yet before ever the city was built, there was a feast of herdsmen and shepherds kept on this day, which went by the name of Palilia”.

(Seyffert, Dict. Pales) on the Parilia: “After the second century of our Era the festival was combined with that of Dea Roma, and was celebrated as her birthday with festal processions and Circensian games, which continued till the 5th century”.

(Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “April 21 N. Urbis. )Silvius, Kal. anno 448) Natalis urbis Romae …” April 21. Natalis urbis Romae ..."

(Perp. Fest. Cal.) “April 21st. Foundation of the City of Rome”.

VENUS. (Seyffert, Dict., Roma) “Between the old Forum and the Colosseum Hadrian erected a handsome double temple in honour of Roma and Venus, as ancestress of the Roman people. This was consecrated on April 21st, the day of the foundation of Rome and the festival of the Parilia”.

APRIL 23rd

Sicilian and Graeco-Roman: ASTARTE, TANITH, APHRODITE and VENUS ERYCINA. See under Venus (Ovid).

Roman: LAVINIA. See under Venus (Ovid).

VENUS: The Vinalia Priora, in honour of Jupiter and Venus. (Seyffert, Dict.) on the two Vinalia festivals: “Vinalia . (1) on April 23rd (Vinalia priora), when the wine of the previous year was broached, and a libation from it poured on the sod; and (2) on August 19th (Vinalia rustica) ... With both festivals was associated the worship of Venus, who, as goddess of gardens, had vineyards also under her protection”.

(Ovid, Fasti, iv. 863) “April 23rd. I have told of Pales, I will now tell of the festival of the

Vinalia; but there is one day interposed between the two. Ye wenches of the people, celebrate the divinity of Venus: Venus favours the earnings of ladies of a liberal profession. Offer incense and pray for beauty and popular favour; pray to be charming and witty; give to the Queen her own myrtle and the mint she loves, and bands of rushes hid in clustered roses. Now is the time to throng her temple next the Colline gate; the temple takes its name from the Sicilian hill ... Venus was transferred (i.e. from Eryx) to Rome in obedience to an oracle of the long-lived Sibyl, and chose to be worshipped in the city of her own offspring. You ask, why then do they call the Vinalia a festival of Venus? And why does that day belong to Jupiter?” Ovid then recalls how a vow of wine made to Jupiter led to the marriage of Aeneas to Lavinia, Queen Amata’s daughter.

APRIL 25th

Roman: ROBIGO, The Robigalia. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Robigo, or Rubigo, a goddess of Rome, particularly worshipped by husbandmen, as she presided over corn. Her festivals called Robigalia, were celebrated on the 25th of April, and incense was offered to her . . She was intreated to preserve the corn from blight”. (Frazer, on Ovid, Fasti, p. 420) “The Festival of the Robigalia ... is recorded under the twenty-fifth of April in the Esquiline, Caeretan, Maffeian, and Praenestine calendars; and the date of the festival is further confirmed by the testimony of Festus, Pliny and Servius”.

(Ovid, Fasti, IV 901) “April 25th. When April shall have six days left, the season of spring will be in mid course ... On that day, as I was returning from Nomentum to Rome, a white- robed crowd blocked the middle of the road. A flamen was on his way to the grove of ancient Mildew (Robigo) … Straightway I went up to him to inform myself of the rite. Thy flamen, O Quirinus, pronounced these words: ‘Thou scaly Mildew, spare the sprouting corn, and let the smooth top quiver on the surface of the ground. O let the crops, nursed by the heaven’s propitious stars, grow till they are ripe for the sickle. No feeble power is thine ... Grip not the tender crops, but rather grip the hard iron. Forestall the destroyer. Better that thou shouldst gnaw at swords and baneful weapons. There is no need of them: the world is at peace. Now let the rustic gear, the rakes and the hard hoe, and the curved share be burnished bright; but let rust tarnish the arms, and when one essays to draw the sword from the scabbard, let him feel it stick from long disuse …’ On his right hand hung a napkin. with a loose nap, and he had a bowl of wine and a casket of incense”.

APRIL 27th

Roman: FLORA. (Silvius, Kal. anno- 448) “April 27. Floria.” See also under April 28.

English: MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT, Pioneer of Women’s independence; author. Born April 27th 1759.

APRIL 28th

Roman: FLORA; The Floralia, First Day. (Seyffert, Dict.) “Flora ... A goddess, originally Sabine, of the spring and of flowers and blossoms in general, to whom prayers were offered for the prospering of the ripe fruits of the field and tree. She was also regarded as a goddess of the flower of youth and its pleasures. Her worship was said to have been introduced into, Rome by the Sabine King Titus Tatius, and her special priest, the Flamen Floralia, to have been appointed by Numa ... a theatrical festival, the Floralia, was instituted (i.e. in 238 before this era) at the behest of the Sibylline books. At this feast the men decked themselves and their animals with flowers, especially roses; the women put aside their usual costume, and wore gay dresses. The scene was one of unretrained merriment. From 173 (before this era) the festival was a standing one, and lasted six days, from April 28, the anniversary of the foundation of the temple, to May 3. For the first five days of the games, for the superintendence of which the curule aediles were responsible, there were theatrical performances, largely consisting of very lewd farces called mimes. The people were regaled during the games with porridge, peas and lentils.

“Flora was in later times identified with the Greek Chloris”.

(Ovid, Fasti, IV. 943) “April 28th. When the spouse of Tithonus (i.e. Aurora) ... thrice has lifted up her radiant light in the vast firmament, there comes a goddess decked with garlands of a thousand varied flowers, and the stage enjoys a customary licence of mirth. The rites of Flora also extend into the Calends of May. Then I will resume the theme”.

(Ausonius, Ecl. XXIII. 25) “On the Roman Festivals (2nd half of 4th cent.) ... Shall I tell also of ... the merry rites of Flora held in the lascivious theatre-rites which they long to see who declare they never longed to see them?”

(Augustine, De Civ. Dei, 11, 27) “Cicero was a serious-minded man and by way of being a philosopher. When he was entering on the aedileship he shouted out, in the hearing of the whole citizen body, that among the other duties of his office it fell to him to propitiate Mother Flora (note by Knowles: ‘Cic., 2 Verr. 2, 5, 14’) by the holding of games.”

FLORA or ANDRONICA. (Spenser, The Shepheards Calendar March, Glosse) “Flora, the Goddess of flowers, but indede (as saith Tacitus) a famous harlot, which ... having gotten great riches, made the people of Rome her heyre: who, in remembraunce of so great beneficence, appointed a yearly feste for the memoriall of her, calling her, not as she was, nor as some doe think, Andronica, but Flora; making her the Goddesse of floures.”

VESTA (Ovid, Fasti, IV. 949) “April 28th … O Vesta, take thy day! Vesta has been received in the home of her kinsman ... Phoebus owns part of the house; another part has been given to Vesta; what remains is occupied by Caesar himself”. (Commentary by Frazer) “When Augustus was made Pontifex Maximus ... he built a chapel to Vesta in his own house on the Palatine, and dedicated it on April 28th, which was made a public holiday”.

APRIL 29th

Roman: FLORA; The Floralia, Second Day.

APRIL 30th

Roman: ACCA LARENTIA, LAURENTIA; The Lares. The Laurentalia. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Laurentalia, certain festivals celebrated at Rome in honour of Laurentia, on the last day of April and the 23rd of December”.

(Plutarch, Lives, Romulus) On Acca Larentia, foster-mother of Romulus and Remus: “To her the Romans make offerings, and in the month of April the priest of Mars makes libations there (i.e. the fig-tree); it is called the Larentian Feast”.

FLORA; The Floralia, Third Day. (Philocalus, Kal. anno, 354) “April 30. Ludi florales”.

Celtic: Irish. Oidhche Bhealtaine, Bealtaine Eve, May Eve. For the Bealtaine Eve fires, see under May 1st: Bealtaine (Joyce).

Celtic: Spanish. (Borlase, Dolmens, Vol. II. p. 694) On Spanish and Portuguese dolmens; “The last day of April was also a time set apart for the cultus of the dead. At a short distance to the eastward of the entrance into the passage of the dolmen of Equilaz [in Alava], the ground shows signs of having been subjected to the action of fires. This fact is accounted for, says Signor Antonio Pirala, in the locality, by the bonfires which used to be lighted on the last day of April at the tombs in honour of the dead”.

Celtic: General. (Druids Cal.) “April 30th. May Day Eve. The day for children to gather spring flowers and hang May baskets. This is the Eve of Beltaine, the ancient Celtic May Day festival, when great bonfires were kindled and the cattle were blessed”.

Celtic: Welsh. THE MARE OF GWENT IS-COED. (The Mabinogion, p. 19) on Teyrnon Twryf Liant: “throughout his kingdom there was neither horse nor mare more handsome than she. And every May-eve she foaled.”

General: THE WITCHES; Great Sabbat. See under February 1st, and below: Walpurgis Night.

English-German: ST. WALPURGIS; Walpurgis Night. (Brewer, Dict.) “Walpurgis Night. The eve of May Day, when the old pagan witch-world was supposed to hold high revelry ... on certain high places. The Brocken of Germany was a favourite spot for these revelries”. (Bayard Taylor on Goethe’s Faust, p. 226) “Walpurgis-night ... The title and character of the Witches, ‘Sabbath on the summit of the Brocken, on the night between April 30th and May 1st, spring equally from the old and the new religion. Walpurgis (or Walpurga, which is the most usual form of the name) was the sister of Saints Willibald and Wunnibald, and emigrated with them from England to Germany . . in the eight century … as Abbess of a Convent at Heidenheim, in Franconia [she] became one of the most popular saints, not only in Germany, but also in Holland and England. The 1st of May, which was given to her in the calendar, was the ancient festival-day of the Druids”. (id. p. 227) “Mr. Lewes ... says: ‘The scene on the Blocksberg is part of the old legend, and is to be found in many versions of the puppet play’ … The carnival of the witches on the Blocksberg is a much older tradition than that of Faust”.

(Farrar, What Witches Do, p. 96) “St. Walburga was a Sussex-born woman saint who emigrated to Germany . Interestingly ... Walburg is an old Teutonic name for the Earth Mother”.

(Doreen Valiente, ABC of Witchcraft, p. 47) “The Brocken, also called the Blocksberg, was the most famous meetingplace of witches in Europe ... One wild story even claimed that here on Walpurgis Night (30th April or May Eve), was held the Grand Coven of all the witch-leaders of Europe.

“In the eighteenth century German map-makers usually added to any map of the Hartz Mountains, of which the Brocken is the highest peak, a few witches flying on broomstick towards its summit. One of these old maps, drawn by L. S. Bestehorn and published in Nuremberg in 1751, is particularly interesting. The map also contains a short description of the Brocken, which states that at the summit of the Mountain is the famous ‘Witches’ Ground’, where the Sabbats take place, and close to it an altar, which was formerly consecrated to a pagan god. There was also a spring of water here, and both the spring and altar were used in the witches ceremonies ... It is evidently an old sacred mountain, on the summit of which pre-Christian rites took place ...

“In Pomerania, there were several high places known as the Blocksberg; and the Swedish witches called this meeting-place Blocula”.

(The Cauldron, Lammas 1980, p. 8) on the Bonn festival: “Every year a summer fete is held at a park near the Chancellery organized by the ruling Chancellor, and this year he decided on a witch theme. Its title was the Bonn Walpurgis Night. It was supposed to be based on the kind of revelry held on the Brocken mountain top in medieval times on St. Walpurgis Night ... At the fete in Bonn there were witches galore, fortune-tellers trying to predict the outcome of the elections next October, and guests wearing masks gave it all a carnival atmosphere”.

Italian: ST. CATHERINE of Siena, born 1347. (Irish Catholic Dir.) “April 30. St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin”. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “April 30th. Catherine of Siena, mystic”.

Greek: BAUBO. Hebrew: LILITH. (Goethe, Faust, Part 1. Scene xxi, Walpurgis-Night):

Witches (in chorus)

“The witches ride to the Brocken’s top,

The stubble is yellow, And green the crop,

There gathers the crowd for carnival …

A Voice

“Then honour to whom the honour is due!

Dame Baubo first, to lead the crew!

A tough old sow and the mother thereon

Then follow the witches, every one …


“But who is that?


“Note her especially ... ‘Tis Lilith

Adam’s first wife is she …”

Note: (Shuttle and Redgrove, The Wise Wound, p. 205) “ ‘Sowishness’ is a German slang term for the period ... Erich Neumann in Origins says, ‘The image of Isis sitting with wide-open legs on a pig carries the line, via Crete and Asia Minor, to Greece’. The female genitals in Greek and Latin are called (‘pig’ ... Baubo, whose ‘obscene dance’ cheered the mourning Goddess and made her laugh, appearing even ‘in the supreme mystery of Eleusis’ ”.

(Note by Bayard Taylor) “Burton, in his ‘Anatomy of Melancholy’ says: ‘The Talmudists say that Adam had a wife called Lilis before he married Eve’ ... Lilith devoted herself to witchcraft”. Lilatu or Lilit appears earlier as an Assyrian storm-goddess.”

General: (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “April 30. Departed Kindred”.

Back to Juno Covella

Back to Lawrence Durdin-Robertson