Today Is …
Casse Canarie – In the Vodoun tradition, it this time of the year which is associated with releasing and honoring the dead, as well as Halloween, directly across the Wheel of the Year. The dead are free to roam the earth from Holy Thursday until Whitsunday.) Practitioners of Vodou breaks jugs at ritual involving the breaking of jugs is performed to send the souls of those who have died in the past year to the land of the dead. See also April 30, Mange-les-Morts.
Floralia and Beltane ~ Ancient Roman Floralia (Florales Ludi) was a festival from April 28 – May 2 which began in Rome in 238 B.C. Floralia was originally a Spring Festival which honors Roman Goddess of Flowers, Flora (Chloris) another manifestation of the earth-goddess which includes Fauna, Maia and Ops. The temple of this goddess was founded on this day on the Aventine. Offerings of milk and honey were made on this day and the surrounding five days, which comprise the Florifertum. The city would have been decorated in flowers, and the people would wear floral wreaths or flowers in their hair. Games would be celebrated on this day. The celebration of this day survives in many cultures where it is known as May Day.
Beltane is the Celtic festival marking the beginning of summer, where the cattle was driven between purifying fires before they were let out to graze the meadows. Also the festival of Belenus, the Celtic God of Fire and the Sun. Beltane” was Bel-fire, or fire of the Celtic God Bel (Beli, Balar, Balor, Belenus), “Bright One,” God of Light and Fire. In the Celtic tradition, Beltane was the beginning of Summer. On this date, the herds were driven to the summer pastures, where they would graze and grow fat for the coming winter.
Floralia Begins – The Romans began honored the Sabine Goddess of blossoms and spring with six days of celebrations including games, pantomimes, plays and stripteases, which went on into the night illuminated by torchlight. Everyone wore their most colorful clothes and decked themselves and their animals in flowers. Goats and hares were let loose–they represented fertility and sexuality and Venus in her role as patroness of cultivated nature. Small vegetables (one imagines cucumbers and zucchinis) were distributed as fertility tokens. Flora represented the sexual aspect of plants, the attractiveness of the flowers, and was the matron of prostitutes.
Blackburn, Bonnie and Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press, 1999
Rufus, Anneli, The World Holiday Book, Harper San Francisco 1994
28 – May 3:The three day Festival of Flora and Venus, or the Florialia in Rome; Goddess of Sexuality and Spring flowers.
30: Walpurgisnacht celebrated by German Witches
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Courtesy of GrannyMoonsMorningFeast