Juno Covella - March
Goddesses of the Calendar Month:
Ranuit, Ramuit, Rennutet, Renutet
Spenta Armaiti, Spandarmat
Roman: JUNO LUCINA, The Matronalia. (Seyffert, Dict.) “Matronalia. A festival celebrated by Roman matrons on the 1st of March, the anniversary of the foundation of the temple of Juno Lucina on the Esquiline. In the houses ... prayers were offered for a prosperous wedlock, the women received presents from the men and waited on the slaves, just as the men did at the Saturnalia. In the temple of the goddess, women and girls prayed to her ... and brought pious offerings”. (id.) “Juno … At this festival (i.e. the Matronalia) the goddess was represented veiled, with a flower in her right hand, and an infant in swaddling clothes in her left.”
(Plutarch, Lives, Romulus) on the Roman and Sabine festivals: “Feasts ... they partook in common, not abolishing any which either nation observed before, and instituting several new ones: one of which was the Matronalia, instituted in honour of the women”.
(Ovid, Fasti. III. 246) The poet is addressed by the god Mars: “[March 1st] ... on the hill which now bears the name of Esquiline, a temple was founded, if I remember aright, on this very day by the Latin matrons in honour of Juno ... My mother loves brides; a crowd of mothers throngs my temple; so pious a reason is especially becoming to her and to me (note by Frazer: ‘The Matronalia, in honour of Juno Lucina’) Bring ye flowers to the goddess; this goddess delights in flowering plants; with fresh flowers wreathe your heads. Say ye, “Thou, Lucina, hast bestowed on us the light (lucem) of life’.”
(Tertullian, De Idolatria, c. 14, cited by Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 93) on the observance by Christians, in about the year 230, of Roman festivals: “By us ... the Saturnalia, the feasts of January, the Brumalia, and Matronalia are now frequented ... How much more faithful are the heathen to their religion, who take special care to adopt no solemnity from the Christians”.
(Ausonius, Ecl. XXIII. 7) “On the Roman Festivals (2nd half of 4th cent.): Now will I tell of ... those rites which wedded women practise to bring their husbands credit, when the first day of March is returned.”
Roman: NERIO. (Frazer, on Ovid, Fasti. p. 409) “From a variety of indications H. Usener ingeniously argued that the marriage of Mars and Nerio was celebrated at Rome in March in the New Year”.
STRENIA. (Deubner, O.C.D.) “Strenae on the old New Year’s Day (1st March) the old laurel branches before the doors of the rex sacrorum, the great flamines, the curiae, and the temple of Vesta were replaced by new branches. The strena is a Spring ceremony and is related to the German May tree”. See also under January 1st.
VESTA. (Ovid, Fasti, III. 135) “March 1st … If you would convince yourself that the calends of March were really the beginning of the year, you may refer to the following proofs ... the withered laurel is withdrawn from the Ilian (i.e. Vestal) hearth, that Vesta also may make a brave show, dressed in fresh leaves. Besides ‘tis said that a new fire is lighted in her secret shrine, and the rekindled flame gains strength”.
(Seyffert, Dict. Vesta) on the Vestal Fire: “On every 1st March it was rekindled ... The fire could only be rekindled by a burning glass, or by the primitive method of friction by boring a piece of wood from a fruit tree”.
Norse: IDUNA, Goddess of Spring. (Fell of Isis Dir.) “March 1st Iduna”. See also under March 21st.
Japanese: THE MUNAKATA-NO-KAMI, The Hina-Matsuri, The Doll Festival, The Girls’ Festival. (Chamberlain, Things Japanese, p. 159) “Festivals ... March 3 - The Girls Festival (Jomi No Sekku), when every town is decked with dolls. It is also called Hina Mastsuri, that is, the Feast of Dolls. A sweet drink called shiro-sake is partaken of on this day”. (id. p.91) “On the 3rd March every doll-shop in Tokyo, Kyoto, and other large cities is gaily decked with what are called O Hina Sama - tiny models both of people and things, the whole Japanese Court in miniature. This is the great yearly holiday of all the little girls” (Herbert, Shinto, p. 197) “March 3rd: most Shinto temples participate actively in the Hina-matsuri, or Momo-no-sekku, or Jomi-no-sekku, the famous ‘doll festival’ ... There are mainly three kinds of dolls, the hina, the tachibina, in paper, probably the oldest, and also wooden dolls. The regular set (Dairi-bina) consists of fifteen dolls: the lord and lady (Dairi-sama), three ladies-in-waiting (Konjo), five musicians, two retainers and three guards; but many modern hina have now appeared representing actors, actresses, base-ball players, etc. Placed beneath the main dolls are various tiny household utensils and furniture, including trays with food bowls, mirrors, musical instruments, boxes, smoking units and many other things ... The dolls are offered mochi (rice cakes) dyed in three colours, red, green and white, as well as shirazake, a sweet mild rice wine.
Many hina dolls are family treasures handed down from mothers to daughters for generations ... New furnitures are often added every year. There is a tradition that this festival commemorates the birth of the three Muna Kata-no-Kami. It is a favourite day for marriages”. Note: The Munakata Goddesses are the three daughters of Ama-Terasu, the Sun Goddess.
Egyptian: ISIS; The Ploiaphesia, Navigium Isidis, The Ship of Isis. (Seyffert, Dict.) “Isis ... the festival, held on the 5th of March [is] called the ship of Isis (Isidis Navigium), in recognition of her being the patron of navigation and inventress of the sail”.
(Apuleius, Met. XI) Isis addresses Apuleius: “The eternal laws of religion devote to my worship the day born of this night. Tomorrow my priests offer me the first-fruits of the new sailing season by dedicating a ship to me; for at this season the storms of winter lose their force, the leaping waves subside and the sea becomes navigable once more”.
(id.) The author describes the ceremony, as it was observed at Corinth: “Soon a golden sun arose … and at once the streets were filled with people walking along as if in a religious triumph. Not only I, but the whole world, seemed filled with delight. The animals, the houses, even the weather itself reflected the universal joy and serenity ... and the song birds, assured that spring had come, were chirping their welcome to the queen of the stars, the mother of the seasons, the mistress of the universe ...
“Presently the vanguard of the grand procession came in view. It was composed of a number of people in fancy dress of their own choosing ... a pretended magistrate with purple robe and rods of office; a philospher ... a tame she-bear, dressed like a woman, carried in a sedan chair; and an ape in a straw hat and a saffron-coloured Phrygian cloak … These fancy-dress comedians kept running in and out of the crowd, and behind them came the procession proper.
“At the head walked women crowned with flowers, who pulled more flowers out of the folds of their beautiful dresses and scattered them along the road; their joy in the Saviouress appeared in every gesture. Next came women with polished mirrors tied to the back of their heads, which gave all who followed them the illusion of coming to meet the Goddess, rather than marching before her. Next, a party of women with ivory combs in their hands who made a pantomime of combing the Goddess’s royal hair, and another party with bottles of perfume who sprinkled the road with balsam and other precious perfumes; and behind these a mixed company of women and men who ... propitiated her by carrying every sort of light lamps, torches, wax-candles and so forth.
“Next came musicians with pipes and flutes, followed by a party of carefully chosen choir-boys singing a hymn ... also a number of beadles and whifflers crying: ‘Make way there, way for the Goddess!’ Then followed a great crowd of the Goddess’s initiates, men and women of all classes and every age, their pure white linen clothes shining brightly. The women wore their hair tied up in glossy coils under gauze head-dresses; the men’s heads were completely shaven ...
“The leading priests ... carried the oracular emblems of the deity. The Chief Priest held a bright lamp ... it was a golden boat-shaped affair with a tall tongue of flame mounting from a hole in the centre. The second priest held an auxiliaria, or ritual pot, in each of his hands - the name refers to the Goddess’s providence in helping her devotees. The third carried a miniature palm-tree ... The fourth carried a model of the left hand with the fingers stretched out, which is an emblem of justice ... He also held a golden vessel rounded in the shape of a woman’s breast, from the nipple of which a thin stream of milk fell to the ground. The fifth carried a winnowing-fan woven with golden rods, not osiers. Then came a man, not one of the five, carrying a wine-jar.
“Next in the procession followed those deities that deigned to walk on human feet ... Anubis with a face black on one side, golden on the other, walking erect ... Behind, danced a man carrying on his shoulders, seated upright, the statue of a cow, representing the Goddess as the fruitful Mother of us all. Then came along a priest with a box containing the secret implements of her wonderful cult. Another fortunate priest had another emblem of her godhead hidden in the lap of his robe ... It was a symbol of the sublime and ineffable mysteries of the Goddess ... a small vessel of burnished gold, upon which Egyptian hieroglyphics were thickly crowded, with a rounded bottom, a long spout, and a generously curving handle along which sprawled an asp raising its head and displaying its scaly, wrinkled, puffed-out throat.
“Meanwhile the pageant moved slowly on and we reached the seashore ... There the divine emblems were arranged in due order and there with solemn prayers the chaste-lipped priest hallowed and dedicated to the Goddess a beautifully built ship, with Egyptian hieroglyphics painted over the entire hull, but first he carefully purified it with a lighted torch, an egg and sulphur. The sail was shining white linen, inscribed with large letters with a prayer for the Goddess’s protection of shipping during the new sailing season. The long fir mast with its shining head was now stepped, and we admired the gilded prow shaped like the neck of Isis’s holy goose, and the long brightly-polished keel cut from a solid trunk of citrus-wood. Then all present, both priesthood and laity, began zealously stowing aboard winnowing-fans heaped with aromatics and other votive offerings and poured an abundant stream of milk into the sea as a libation. When the ship was loaded with generous gifts and prayers for good fortune, they cut the anchor cables and she slipped across the bay with a serene breeze behind her that seemed to have
sprung up for her sake alone. When she stood so far out to sea that we could no longer keep her in view, the priests took up the holy emblems and started happily back towards the temple, in the same orderly procession as before.
“On our arrival the Chief Priest and the priests who carried the oracular emblems were admitted into the Goddess’s adytum with other initiates and restored them to their proper places. Then one of them known as the Doctor of Divinity ... went up into. a high pulpit and read out a Latin blessing upon ‘our liege lord, the Emperor, and upon the Senate, and upon the Order of Knights and upon the Commons of Rome and upon all sailors and all ships …’ Then he uttered the traditional Greek formula ‘Ploeaphesia,’ meaning that vessels were now permitted to sail, to which the people responded with a loud cheer and dispersed happily to their homes, taking all kinds of decorations with them: such as olive boughs, scented shrubs and garlands of flowers, but first kissing the feet of a silver statue of the Goddess that stood on the temple steps”.
(Philocalus, Kal. anno 345) “March 5. Isidis navigium.” (Witt, Isis in Graeco-Roman World, p. 165) “The launching of Isis’ ship was a natural development in a religion that was never land-locked. It drew its warrant from the processions in honour of Isis at such centres as Philae and Busiris”.
(id. p. 178) “The ploiaphesia is well attested. In the region of Byzantium - three centuries before this city became the capital of the eastern empire, the Ship of Isis was launched by its symbolic captain, a certain Artemidorus. In Eretrea of Euboea the ceremony was in existence by the first century (before this era). We have the interesting names of ‘captains’, including two men named Socrates and women called Parthena, Isidora, Theopompis (‘the lady of the sacred procession’), Isias (twice), Demetria and Paedeusis (‘the lady professor’). At Ephesus an Ark Mariner of Isis (Naubates) bore the very Roman name of M. Pomponius Latinus.
“The writer John of Lydia ... who had links with the emperor Justinian (483-565), assures us that the Voyage of Isis was still being performed in his day and specifies that the date was 5th March. It was called ploiaphesia, he tells us, in honour of ‘ancient Isis or the Moon’ (Johannes Lydus, De Mens. 4,45 ...). The Egyptians pay her due worship at the commencement of their sea voyages ‘because by her nature she presides over the waters’.”
(id. p. 184) “The Festival of Isis on 5th March has many ecclesiastical as well as secular parallels. The common source is surely the religious processions of the Nile in ancient Egypt. ‘The Ephiphany Festival of the Eastern Church termed that ‘of the Lights’ (Ton photon) … involves a procession of priests and marching choir down to the waters edge. Margate, in Kent, now sees it, like the Piraeus in Greece. The spirit of the ceremony, however, is exactly the same as that we have observed in the rites of Isis ... The ritual of the Christian Church owes a considerable and unacknowledged debt to the Egyptian religion that preceded it in the Graeco-Roman world”. See also under Moveable Festivals: The Carnival.
(Eisler, Royal Art of Astrol. p. 269) from a description of an illustration: “the Zodiac of the main porch of the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. Reproduced after Charles Dupuis, Origines de Tous Les Cultes, Paris 1792, pl. XVIII.
“... Still further left (i.e. of January) Aquarius and Isis launching a ship (Isidis Navigium, known to have been celebrated in Paris). The ship is Navis seen just opposite Aquarius. Over this figure we see Pisces.”
See also under February 5th: St. Agatha and Moveable Calendar: The week before Lent, The Carnival.
(Fell. of Isis Dir.) “March 5th. Isidis Navigium. Isis Spring Festival of the Ship. Hope.
Adventure. New Enterprise.”
THE GREAT WORLD MOTHER. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “March 5th. The Great World Mother.”
Roman: MANIA and the Lares: The Compitalia. See under January 12th.
Roman: JUNO; The Junonalia. (Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “March 7. Junonalia.”
(Enc. Brit. 1810 ed.) “Junonalia, a festival observed by the Romans in honour of Juno. It was instituted on account of certain prodigies that happened in Italy, and was celebrated by matrons. In the solemnity ... two images of Juno, made of cypress, were borne in procession. Then marched 27 girls, habited in long robes, singing a hymn to the goddess; then came the decemviri, crowned with laurel, in vestments edged with purple. This pompous company, going through the Vicus Fugarius, had a dance in the great field of Rome; from thence they proceeded through the Forum Boarium to the temple of Juno ... and the cypress images were left standing. This festival … is fully described by Livy, lib. vii. dec. 3. The hymn used upon the occasion was composed by Livius the poet.”
ST. PERPETUA. (Church of England Cal.) “March 7. Perpetua.”
Persian: First Day and Night of the Farvardigan, The Ten Days of the Dead. (Darmesteter, on Zend-Avesta, Vol. Il. p. 192) from the commentary on “the time of Hamaspathmaedha” mentioned in the Farvardin Yast, quoted below: “the last ten days of the year (10th to 20th March) including the last five days of the last month, Sapendarmad, and the five complementary days. These last ten days should be spent in deeds of charity, religious banquets (gasan), and ceremonies in memory of the dead. It was also at the approach of the Spring that the Romans and the Athenians used to make annual offerings to the dead.” See under February 13th to 21st: Mania and the Manes.
(The Zend-Avesta, Farvardin Yast, XIII):
“49. We worship the good, strong, beneficent Fravashis of the faithful, who come and go through the borough at the time of the Hamaspathmaedha; they go along there for ten nights, asking thus:
50. ‘Who will praise us? Who will make us an offering? Who will meditate upon us? Who will bless us? …’ ”
Note: The Fravashis of the ancient Persians appear to be similar to the Manes of Roman religion.
Babylonian: ISHTAR. Syrian and Graeco-Roman: ASTARTE, APHRODITE And VENUS. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “March 10th. Ishtar and Tammuz. Venus and Adonis. Love and Loyalty. Perfect Marriage. Success in Union.”
Alexandrian: HYPATIA, The Divine Pagan. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “March 12th. Hypatia”. (Cassell’s New Biog. Dict.) “Hypatia, born circa 370 ... Head of the Platonic School of Alexandria.” (Brewer, Dict.) “The Divine Pagan (The). Hypatia who presided over the Neoplatonic School at Alexandria.”
(Enc. Brit. 1810 ed.) “Hypatia, a learned and beautiful lady ... a celebrated philosopher and mathematician, and president of the famous Alexandrian school, was born at Alexandria … ‘She explained to her hearers (says Socrates) the several sciences that go under the general name of philosophy; for which reason there was a confluence to her from all parts of those who made philosophy their delight and study.’
“Her scholars were as eminent as they were numerous She was held as an oracle for her wisdom, which made her consulted by the magistrates in all important cases.”
Greek: DIOTIMA. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “March 13. Diotima, teacher of Socrates.” (Plato,
Symposium, 201 d.) Socrates describes his teacher: “Diotima of Mantinea, a woman wise in this (i.e. love) and in many other kinds of knowledge ... She was my instructress.”
(Lucian, Portraiture, 18) “Diotima shall be still another [model] and Diotima shall be copied not only in those qualities for which Socrates commended her, but in her general intelligence and power to give counsel.”
Phrygian: CYBELE. (Seyffert, Dict. Rhea) “The worship of Cybele gained by degrees an ever-wider extension, so that under the early Empire a first festival was instituted, from March 15-27, with the observance of mourning, followed by the most extravagant joy. In this festival associations of women and men and the religious board of the Quindecimviri took part.” (Walton, O.C.D.) “Cybele ... The cycle of the spring festival, while not fully attested till 354 (of this era) began to take form then (i.e. the time of Claudius). The rites began on 15th March with a procession of reed-bearers (cannophori).” See also under March 22nd.
Roman: ANNA PERENNA. Rose, (O.C.D.) “Anna Perenna, a Roman goddess, whose festival was on 15th March, i.e. the first full moon of the year by the old reckoning (1 March being New Year’s Day).”
(Ovid, Fasti, III. 523) “March 15th. On the Ides is held the joyful feast of Anna Perenna, not far from thy banks, O Tiber, who comest from afar. The common folk come, and scattered here and there over the leafy grass they drink, every lad reclining beside his lass. Some camp under the open sky; a few pitch tents; some make a leafy hut of boughs. Others set up reeds in place of rigid pillars, and stretching out their robes place them upon reeds. But they grow warm with sun and wine, and pray for as many years as they take cups, and they count the cups they drink ... There they sing the ditties they picked up in the theatres, beating time to the words with nimble hands; they set the bowl down, and trip in dances lubberly, while the spruce sweetheart steps about with streaming hair.”
(Commentary by Frazer) “The feast of Anna Perenna was celebrated at the first milestone on the Flaminian Way ... Here, apparently between the Flaminian and the Salarian roads, the goddess had a fruitful grove ... Macrobius tells us that in the month of March people went to Anna Perenna ... in order that they might pass the year and many others in prosperity; and to the same effect Joannes Lydus says that on the Ides of March public prayers were offered that the year might be healthy ... these statements furnish a clue to the nature of the festival and of the goddess herself ... The pairing of sweethearts, lying on the grass, trolling out ribald staves, and drinking themselves drunk, points to customs like those formerly observed on May Day and Midsummer Eve in many parts of Europe, when the licence accorded to the sexes was a relic of magical rites ... It was a day of Valentines.”
Roman: LIBERA: The Liberalia, in honour of Liber (Bacchus) and Libera. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Liberalia, festivals yearly celebrated in honour of Bacchus, the 17th of March. Slaves were then permitted to speak with freedom, and everything bore the appearance of independence.” (Rose, O.C.D.) “Liber had an important cult in Rome along with his partner Libera.” (Seyffert Dict. Dionysus) “In Italy the indigenous Liber, with a feminine Libera at his side, corresponded to the Greek God of wine ... The urban festival held in Rome on the 17th March was called Liberalia. Old women, crowned with ivy, sold cheap cakes (liba) of meal, honey and oil, and burnt them on little pans for the purchasers.”
(Varro, Ling. Lat. VI. 14) “The Liberalia ... on that day old women wearing ivy-wreaths on their heads sit in all parts of the town ... with cakes (liba) and a brazier, on which they offer up the cakes on behalf of any purchaser.” Note: (White, Dict.) “libum ... a consecrated cake, a cake offered to the gods ... Meton. of a cake, a pancake, etc.”
Japanese: The Higan Festival of the Dead, First Day. (Chamberlain, Things Japanese, pp. 157 and 159) “Festivals. The holidays observed officially are: March 17th - This and the next six days are the Buddhist Higan, or Equinoctial festival of the dead.”
Greek: ATHENA; The Lesser Panathenaea. (Seyffert, Dict.) “Panathénaea ... The most ancient and most important of Athenian festivals. It was celebrated in honour of Athene, the patron deity of Athens ... There was a festival of the ordinary or lesser Panathenaea celebrated every year, and from the time of Pisistratus, the great Panathenaea held every fifth year, and in the third year of every Olympiad ... In later times the festival (i.e. the lesser Panathenaea) was removed to spring, perhaps in consequence of Roman influence, in order to make it correspond to the Quinquatrus of Minerva.”
(Lempriere, Dict.) “Panathenaea, festivals in honour of Minerva, patroness of Athens. They were first instituted by Erechtheus or Orpheus, and called Athenaea but Theseus afterwards renewed them ... Some suppose they are the same as the Roman Quinquatria, as they are often called by that name among the Latins. In the first years of the institution, they were observed only one day, but afterwards the time was prolonged, and the celebration was attended with greater pomp and solemnity. The festivals were two; the great Panathenaea (megala) which was observed every fifth year beginning on the 22nd of the month called Hecatomboeon ... and the lesser Panathenaea (micra); which were kept every 3rd year, or rather annually, beginning on the 21st or 20th of the moth called Thargelion ... In the lesser festivals there were three games conducted by ten presidents On the evening of the first day there was a race with torches The second combat was gymnical, and exhibited a trial of strength and bodily dexterity. The last was a musical contention, first instituted by Pericles ... There were besides (i.e. the harp) other musical instruments, on which they played in concert, such as flutes, etc. The poets contended in four plays, called from their number tetralogia. The last of these was a satire ... Whoever obtained the victory in any of these games was rewarded with a vessel of oil ... The conqueror also received a crown of olives which grew in the grove of Academus, and were sacred to Minerva. Other [ceremonies] were added, particularly the procession, in which Minerva’s sacred peplos, or garment, was carried. This garment was woven by a select number of virgins called ergazika, from ergos, work. They were superintended by two of the arréphoroi, or young virgins, not above seventeen years of age nor under eleven, whose garments were white and set off with ornaments of gold. Minerva’s peplus was of a white colour, without sleeves, and embroidered with gold. Upon it were described the achievements of the goddess. In the procession of the peplus, the following ceremonies were observed. In the ceramicus, without the city, there was an engine built in the form of a ship, upon which Minerva’ garment was hung as a sail, and the whole was conducted, not by beasts, as some have supposed, but by subterraneous machines, to the temple of Ceres Eleusinia, and from thence to the citadel, where the peplus was placed upon Minerva’s statue, which was laid upon a bed woven or strewed with flowers, which was called plakis. People of all ages, of every sex and quality, attended the procession, which was led by old men and women carrying olive branches in their hands, from which reason they were called thallophoroi, bearers of green boughs. Next followed men of full age with shields and spears. They were attended by the meloikoi, or foreigners, who carried small boats as a token of their foreign origin, and from that account they were called skaphephoroi, boat bearers. After them came the women attended by the wives of the foreigners called hydriaphoroi, because they carried waterpots. Next to them came young men crowned with millet and singing hymns to the goddess, and after them followed select virgins of the noblest families, called canéphoroi, basket-bearers, because they carried baskets, in which were certain things necessary for the celebration, with whatever utensils were also requisite . . The virgins were attended by the daughters of the foreigners who carried umbrellas and little seats, from which they were named diphréphoroi, seat carriers. The boys, called paidamikoi, as it may be supposed, led the rear clothed in coats generally worn at processions. The necessaries for this and every other festival were prepared in a public hall erected for that purpose, between the Piraean gate and the temple of Ceres.”
(Pausanias, Desc. of Greece, I. xxxix. 1) on Athens: “Near the Hill of Ares is shown a ship built for the procession of the Panathenaea.”
(Seyffert, Dict.) “Panathenaea … the grand procession carried through the city the costly embroidered, saffron coloured garment, the peplus.”
(Wordsworth, Greece, p. 206) on the Panathenaic Frieze of the Parthenon: “At the summit of the exterior walls of the cella, and extending along the four sides of it, is a frieze in low relief, representing the Panathenaic Procession; it is moving from west to east, and may be imagined to have just entered the Acropolis by the gate of the Propylaea, to have advanced to the south-west angle of the Temple, and then to have divided itself into two lines ... so that when they arrive at the Eastern front, they face each other. Here they are separated by twelve seated figures, of size superior to the rest. Six of these figures face the north, and six the south. They form a striking contrast, by their sedate attitudes, to the rapidity of the procession. The twelve figures which have been mentioned are Deities. To appear in their presence was the object of the Panathenaic Procession; and by the juxtaposition of their dignified calmness as the goal of its eager rapidity, the train itself seems, as it were, to pass insensibly from -the transitory restlessness of earth to the eternal tranquillity of heaven.”
For the date of the Lesser Panathenaea in the earlier Greek period see under May 5th.
Roman: MINERVA; The Quinquatrus, The Quinquatria, First Day, The Birthday of Minerva. (See also March 21st). (White, Dict.) “The Quinquatrus or Quinquatria (a festival in honour of Minerva, held for one day according to Varro and Festus, viz, on the 19th March, the fifth day after the Ides of that month; and from this circumstance, according to the above named authors, it derived its name. Ovid, however, states that it continued for five days, and that its name was thence obtained)”.
(Seyffert, Dict.) “Quinquatrus It was celebrated by all those whose employment was under the protection of the goddess, such as teachers and their pupils. The latter obtained a holiday during the festival, and began a new course of study when it was over. The former received at this time their yearly stipend - the minerval. The festival of Minerva was also celebrated by women and children (in their capacity of spinners and weavers), by artisans and artists of every kind, and by poets and painters. The first day of the festival was celebrated ... in honour of the founding of the temple (i.e. of Minerva)”.
(Varro, Ling. Lat. VI. 14) “The Quinquatrus; this day, though one only, is from a misunderstanding of the name observed as if there were five days in it ... so this day was named here, in that the fifth day after the Ides was the Quinquatrus”. (Commentary by Kent) on the Quinquatrus: “On March 19-23, five days instead of merely the fifth day after the Ides (March 15; fifth by Roman counting of both ends); etymology, the ‘fifth black (ater) day’, perhaps Quinquatrus for Quintatrus, with dissimulative change of one t, and concurrent influence of the cardinal quinque”.
(Ovid, Fasti; III. 809) “March 19th ... rites are performed in honour of Minerva, which get their name from a group of five days. The first day ... is that on which Minerva was born ... Ye boys and tender girls, may you pray now to Pallas; he who shall have won the favour of Pallas will be learned. When once, they have won the favour of Pallas, may the girls learn to card wool and unload the full distaffs. She also teaches how to traverse the upright warp with the shuttle, and she drives home the loose threads with the comb. Worship her, thou who dost remove stains from damaged garments; worship her, thou who dost make ready the brazen cauldrons for the fleeces. If Pallas frown, no man shall make shoes well, though he be more skilful than Tychius; and though he were more adroit with his hands than Epeus of old, yet shall he be helpless, if Pallas be angry with him. Ye too, who banish sicknesses by Phoebus’ art, bring from your earnings a few gifts to the goddess (Frazer: ‘Minerva Medica’). And spurn her not, ye schoolmasters ... she attracts new pupils; and thou who dost ply the graving tool and paint pictures in encaustic colours, and thou who dost mould the stone with deft hands. She is the goddess of a thousand works: certainly she is the goddess of song; may she be, friendly to my pursuits, if I deserve it.
“Where the Caelian Mount descends from the height into the plain, at the point when the street is not level but nearly level, you may see the small shrine of Minerva Capta, which the goddess owned for the first time upon her birthday. The origin of the name Capta is doubtful. We call ingenuity ‘capital’ the goddess herself is ingenious ... From whatever source thou dost derive the title, O Pallas, do thou hold thine aegis ever before our leaders”.
(Ausonius, Ecl. XXIII. 4) “On the Roman Festivals (2nd half of 4th cent.) ... Now will I tell of the Quinquatrus, the feast of the goddess Pallas.”
(Philocalus, Kal. anno, 354) “March 19. Quinquatria”. (Silvius, Kal. anno 448) “March 19. Quinquadria.”
(Fell. of Isis Dir.) “March 19th: Minerva. Teachers, pupils, artisans, poets, painters and weavers”.
Egyptian: ISIS; The Pelusia. (Larson, Rel. of Occident, p. 178) “Isis, like Demeter, had two great festivals, one in the spring and another in the fall; the former coincided with the Egyptian harvest, and was celebrated at the vernal equinox, March 20th.”
(Witt, Isis in Graeco-Roman World, p. 123) “We may notice that in the Roman calendar the dates of the Quinquatria, the Greater Holiday of Minerva, were from 19-23 March, but that on the second of the five days an Egyptian Festival was interposed called Pelusia the theme of which was fundamental in the cult of Isis - securing the annual inundation of the Nile by sympathetic magic”.
(Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “March 20. Pelosia.” (Silvius, Kal. anno, 448) “March 20. Polusia.”
Persian: The Farvardigan, Last Day.
Greek: ATHENA, The Lesser Panathenaea. See under March 19th.
Roman: MINERVA, The Quinquatria: Second Day. See also under Isis.
Vernal Equinox, Sun enters Aries (tropical).
(Chamberlain, Things Japanese, p. 159) “On the actual day of the [spring] equinox, the sun is believed to whirl round and round at sunset”.
Persian: New Year’s Day. For the date of the old Persian New Year see under March 10th. Note: (Haug, Essays on Parsis, p. 357) “the Bundahish (p. 60 w) ... states that the months from Fravardin to Mitro (the first seven months of the year) are summer, and from Avan to Spendarmad (the last Five months of the year) are winter. It must be observed that the Persian Parsi calendar has not corresponded with that described in the Bundahish since the eleventh century (say A.Y. 400); but as that book describes the year as always corresponding with the sun, it implies that some mode of intercalation was employed.”
The modern Parsee New Year is in the autumn. See Moveable Calendar: Farvardin 1.
Greek: ATHENA; The Lesser Panathenaea. See under March 19th.
Roman: MINERVA; The Quinquatria, Third Day, The Birthday of Minerva (See also March 19), (Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “March 21. N. Minerves.”
NOX, Night and DIES, Day. (Quintus Cicero, cited by Ausonius, Ecl. XXV. 2) “the Ram (Aries) makes the cars of Night and Day run an even race”.
Celtic: Alban Eilir. (Doreen Valiente, ABC of Witchcraft, p 98) “the equinoxes and solstices were also observed by the Druids. Their Druidic names are Alban Arthuan for the winter solstice; Alban Eilir for the Spring equinox; Alban Hefin for the summer solstice; and Alban Elfed for the autumn equinox”.
Spanish-Irish: TEA and TEPHI, Milesian Princesses, founders of Tara. (Macalister, Tara, p. 167) “There was also a celebration in Tara held on the occasion of the Vernal Equinox; and here also there was a sacred fire lit, from which all other fires had to be kindled”. See also under October 31st. (Anne Ross, Pagan Celtic Britain, p. 227) “The Assembly of Tara was under the patronage of another goddess, Tea.”
General: THE WITCHES, Lesser Sabbat. (Doreen Valiente, ABC of Witchcraft, p. 293) “Sabbat ... The Lesser Sabbats were the two solstices at midsummer and midwinter, and the two equinoxes in spring and autumn. These may vary by a day or two each year, as they depend upon the sun’s apparent entry into the Zodiacal signs”.
Norse: EOSTRE, EASTER. (O.E.D.) “Easter [Old English Eastre weak fem., pl. eastron. Baeda derives the word from Eostre (Northumb. spelling of Eastre), a goddess whose festival was celebrated at the vernal equinox]”.
(Perp. Fest. Cal.) “March 21 ... Eostre, Goddess of Spring and Dawn.” (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “March 21st: Eostre, Goddess of Spring. Rebirth of Nature, Happiness. Care for all young creatures and plants”. See also under Moveable Festivals: Easter Day.
IDUNA. (Brewer, Dict.) “Iduna or Idun ... Iduna seems to personify the year between March and September, when the sun is north of the equator ... Iduna [reappears] in the form of a sparrow, when the sun again, in March, rises above the equator: and both gods and men rejoice in her return”. See also under March 1st.
Samothracian: AXIOKERSA. (Regardie, Golden Dawn. Vol. II. p. 108) from the Practicus Ritual: “Axiokersa, the Third Kabir, spake to Kasmillos the Candidate and said: ‘I am the Sun in Equinox, initiating Summer or heralding Winter mild and genial in operation, giving forth or withdrawing the vital heat of life’.”
General: OUR LADY. (Lux Madriana Cal.) “Columbina 1 (March 21st). Resurrection of Our Lady”.
Greek: KORE, PERSEPHONE. (Miriam Simos, Spiral Dance, p. 88) “Kore Chant: Spring and Fall Equinox (Spring):
“All sleeping seeds She wakens, The Rainbow is Her token …”
(id. p. 175) on the Eight seasonal Sabbats: “Eostar Ritual (Spring Equinox, March 20-23) ... Kore, the Dark Maiden, returns from the Land of the Dead, cloaked in the fresh rain, with the sweet scent of desire on her breath”.
Phrygian: CYBELE. (Walton, O.C.D., Cybele) on the rites of Cybele: “The rites began on 15th March ... After a week of fastings and purifications the festival proper opened on the 22nd”.
Greek: ATHENA, The Lesser Panathenaea. See under March 19th.
Roman: MINERVA; The Quinquatria, Fourth Day.
Japanese: Higan Festival, Sixth Day.
Phrygian: CYBELE. See March 22nd.
Greek: ATHENA; The Lesser Panathenaea. See under March 19th.
Roman: MINERVA; The Quinquatria, Fourth Day. Tubilustrium. (Ovid, Fasti, III. 849) “March 23rd. The last day of the five reminds us to purify the melodius trumpets and to make offering to the strong goddess. (Frazer: ‘Minerva’).”
(White, Dict.) “tubi-lustrium ... (the purifying of trumpets) Tubilustrium or Tubulustrium; a festival held on the 23rd of March and 23rd May ... the feast of trumpets.”
(Varro. Ling. Lat. VI. 14) “The Tubulustrium is named from the fact that on this day the tubae ‘trumpets’ used in the ceremonies lustrantur ‘are purified’ in Shoemakers’ Hall”.
(Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “March 23. Tubilustrium.”
NERINE, NERIO. (Frazer, on Ovid, Fasti. p. 409) “Now from the work of Joannes Lydus on the Roman calendar we know that on the twenty-third of March there was a festival of Mars and Nerine, and that Nerine was no other than Nerio is put beyond a doubt by the author, who says that Nerine was the Sabine name of a goddess whom people identified with Athena (Minerva) or Aphrodite (Venus) ... we may conclude that it represents a marriage of Mars to Nerio”.
Japanese: Higan Festival, Last Day.
Phrygian: CYBELE; Rites of Cybele and Attis.
Roman: BELLONA. (Brewer, Dict.) “Dies Sanguinis. The 24th March, called Bellona’s Day.”
Phrygian: CYBELE; Rites of Cybele and Attis, The Hilaria, Lady Day. (Frazer, Golden Bough abgd. p. 350) on the Spring rites of Cybele and Attis: “On ... the twenty-fifth of March, which was reckoned the vernal equinox, the divine resurrection was celebrated with a wild outburst of glee. It was the festival of joy (Hilaria).”
(Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 103) on the spring festivals of Isis and Cybele: “this festival (i.e. the Entrance of Osiris into the Moon, understood by Hislop to be the conception by Isis of Osiris, ‘son and husband of his mother’) took place in Egypt generally in March, just as Lady-day, or the first great festival of Cybele, was held in the same month in Pagan Rome. We have seen that the common title of Cybele at Rome was Domina, or ‘the Lady’ (Ovid, Fasti, Lib. iv. 340) as in Babylon it was Beltis (Eusebius, Praep. Evang. lib. ix. Cap. 41), and from this, no doubt, comes the name ‘Lady-day’ as it has descended to us”.
(Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “March 25. Hilaria.”
(The Druids Cal.) “March 25th Hilaria. A Roman feast of Asian origin in honour of the Great Mother, here called Cybele, and of Attis, her beloved”. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) See under Isis.
Egyptian: ISIS. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “March 25th. Our Sovereign Lady, Isis. Lady Day. The Virgin Mother, Resurrection of Tammuz, Dionysus, Adonis and Attis.” (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “March 25th. The Goddess Isis. Compassion. Mother and wives and sisters. Lady Day. The Virgin Mary. Faith, Charity, Family Life. Cybele. Violets. Awakening of Osiris, Tammuz, Dionysos, Adonis, Attis, and Jesus”. See also under Cybele.
Jewish: THE VIRGIN MARY, Lady Day.
Phrygian: CYBELE; The Rites of Cybele and Attis, The Requietio. (Frazer, Golden Bough abgd. p. 351) on the spring rites of Cybele and Attis: “the next day, the twenty-sixth of March, was given to repose, which must have been much needed after the varied excitements and fatigues of the preceding days”.
(Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “March 26. Requetio”.
Phrygian: CYBELE; Rites of Cybele and Attis, Last Day, The Lavatio. (Frazer, Golden Bough abgd. p. 351) on the same rites: “Finally, the Roman festival closed on the twenty-seventh of March with a procession to the brook Almo. The image of the goddess, with its face of jagged black stone, sat in a wagon drawn by oxen. Preceded by the nobles walking barefoot, it moved slowly, to the loud music of pipes and tambourines, out by the Porta Capena, and so down to the banks of the Almo, which flows into the Tiber just below the walls of Rome. There the high-priest, robed in purple, washed the wagon, the image, and the other sacred objects in the waters of the stream. On returning from their bath (i.e. the Lavatio), the wain and the oxen were strewn with fresh spring flowers. All was mirth and gaiety”.
(Ammianus Marcellinus, XXIII, 3, 7) on the arrival of the Emperor Julian at Callinicum in Mesopotamia, in the year 363: “There, on the twenty-seventh of March, the day on which at Rome the annual procession in honour of the Mother of the Gods takes place, and the carriage in which her image is carried is washed, as it is said, in the waters of the Almo, he celebrated the usual rites in the ancient fashion”.
(Augustine, De Civ. Dei. 11, 4) “When I was a young man (note: Augustine was born in North Africa in the year 345) I used to go to ... spectacles put on in honour of gods and goddesses - in honour of the Heavenly Virgin, and of Berecynthia, mother of all. On the yearly festival of Berecynthia’s washing … actors sang, in front of her litter ... they performed [rites] in the presence of the Mother of the Gods before an immense audience of spectators of both sexes.
“... And the name of the ceremony is ‘the fercula’, which might suggest the giving of a dinner-party”.
(Commentary by Knowles) “The Heavenly Virgin, It is not clear whether St. Augustine
distinguishes her from Berecynthia (a title of Cybele ...). The yearly festival of (the lavatio) was originally on 4th April ... under the Empire this lavatio was on 27th March, part of the ceremonies of the, vernal equinox ...
“Fercula has two meanings: (a) ‘Litters’ on which images were carried in procession, (b) ‘Dishes’ in which the courses of a banquet were served, and so the courses themselves.”
(id. p. 53) “There seems to have been a considerable revival of mystery religions, with their esoteric rites and doctrines, in the fourth century, in particular the Oriental cults of Cybele and Mithras, and the Egyptian rites of Isis and Serapis (cf. Labriolle, La Reaction Paienne, Paris. 1934).”
(Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “March 27. Lavatio”. (Silvius, Kal. anno 448) “March 27.
Lavationem veteres nominabant. Resurrectio (i.e. the Resurrection of Jesus).” See also Moveable Calendar: The Week before Easter.
Spanish: ST. THERESA of Avila. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “March 28. Teresa, mystic, born 1515”.
Roman: CONCORDIA, SALUS and PAX. (Ovid, Fasti, 111. 879) “March 30th ... it will be time to adore Janus, the gentle Concord with him, and Roman Safety, and the altar of Peace”.
(Perp. Fest. Cal. and Fell. of Isis Dir.) “March 30. Concordia, Salus et Pax; Concord, Health and Peace”.
Roman: LUNA, The Moon. (Seyffert, Dict.) “Luna. The Italian Goddess of the moon. She had in Rome an ancient sanctuary on the Aventine, in which as goddess of the month she received worship on the last day of March, which was the first month of the old Roman year”.
(Ovid, Fasti, III. 883) “March 31st. The Moon (Luna) rules the months: the period of this month also ends with the worship of the Moon on the Aventine Hill”.
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