As the Romans saw many natural thigns such as trees, rocks and other matters as possible hosts to spirits or bearers of some other religious significance, then the countryside bustled with spiritual hints by gods, ghosts and spirits. There was also not a thing which wasn’t somehow guarded by a deity.
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There was gods who watched over fields, groves, orchards, vineyards, springs, woods and any other matter. Jupiter for example watched over oak trees which were sacred to him. As country life was inevitably connected to agriculture, which was at the whim of nature, religious life in the country therefore consisted primarily of appeasing he many gods around one, ensuring that they would guard the harvest and be merciful.
As the ancient calendar, before later changes by the Romans, began on waht is now 15 March, the first traditional festival of the country calendar was the liberalia on 17 March. It was held to honour Liber, the god of fertile crops and vineyards. (The liberalia was also the traditional date when a boy could become a man by being given his toga virilis.)
On 15 April came the fordicia in honour of the earth goddess Tellus. For this pregnant cows were slaughtered in sacrifice and in Rome animal fetuses were burnt on altars. The parilia festival which took place the week after the fordicia, saw sheep being herded and forced to jump across burning bales of straw, in order to be purified.
Another festival was that celebrating the goddess Ceres which took place on 19 April. Ceres was especially connected with agriculture, the harvest and, especially, grain. So her festival was no doubt of significance to farmers. There would be a ritual march around the boundaries of the land, the so called lustration, to purify it and to honour the goddess. In the earlier times of Rome the festival of Ceres would see faxes let loose with torches tied to their tails where later the grand arena of the Circus Maximus would stand.
After the festival of Ceres followed the vinalia rustica which was a wine feast to celebrate…