Fun and Useless Facts about all those ‘Fat Tuesday’ Traditions

Magic in the woods
Fun and Useless Facts about all those ‘Fat Tuesday’ Traditions

This year’s Mardi Gras, a festival marked by an endless cyclone of feathers, costumes, beads and booze that whips through city streets all over the world, is well underway. It’s been called the wildest fete in the U.S., and for good reason: Every year, droves of partygoers flock to New Orleans to take in the floats, the festivities and the food, and to leave their mark on the Big Easy.

Mardi Gras, meaning “Fat Tuesday” in French, has its origins in medieval Europe. What became a legal holiday in Louisiana in 1875 was once a Christian holiday with roots in ancient Rome. Instead of outright abolishing certain pagan traditions, like the wild Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia, religious leaders decided to incorporate them into the new faith.

What became known as the Carnival season was a kick-off to Lent, a sort of last hurrah before 40 days of penance sandwiched between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Eventually, the celebration spread from Rome across Europe to the colonies of the New World.

Since its early days in New Orleans in the early 18th century, Mardi Gras has grown to colossal proportions and includes several familiar traditions, like bead throwing, mask wearing and coconut painting, that are widely practiced today but whose origins may have been forgotten.
Here are the real meanings of five popular Mardi Gras Traditions.

The Wearing Of Masks
Masks are an integral part of Mardi Gras culture. During early Mardi Gras celebrations hundreds of years ago, masks were a way for their wearers to escape class constraints and social demands. Mask wearers could mingle with people of all different classes and could be whomever they desired, at least for a few days.

In New Orleans, float riders are required by law to have a mask on. On Fat Tuesday, masking is legal for all Mardi Gras attendees – although many storeowners will post signs asking those entering to please remove their masks first.

The Flambeaux Tradition
Flambeaux, meaning flame-torch, was the tradition of people carrying shredded rope soaked in pitch through the streets so that nighttime revelers could enjoy festivities after dark. They were originally carried by slaves and free African Americans trying to earn a little money. Crowds tossed coins at the torch carriers for lighting the way for the floats.

Today, flambeaux carriers have turned the tradition into something of a performance. Torch bearers dance and spin their kerosene lights – something the original parade planners didn’t intend.

The Throwing Of Beads
The tradition of bead throwing starts with their original colors. The color of the beads was determined by the king of the first daytime Carnival in 1872. He wanted the colors to be royal colors – purple for justice, gold for power and green for faith. The idea was to toss the color to the person who exhibited the color’s meaning.

The beads were originally made of glass, which, as you can imagine, weren’t the best for tossing around. It wasn’t until the beads were made of plastic that throwing them really became a staple of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Rex, The King of Carnival
Every year in New Orleans, a king is crowned. His name is Rex, the king of the Carnival, and he first ascended to the throne in 1872. History has it that the very first Rex was actually the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia who, upon a visit to the U.S., befriended U.S. Army officer George Armstrong Custer during a planned hunting expedition in the Midwest.

The Duke’s visit to Louisiana was organized by New Orleans businessmen looking to lure tourism and business to their city following the devastating American Civil War.
Every year, the Rex Organization chooses a new Rex, always a prominent person in New Orleans. He is given the symbolic Key to the City by the Mayor.

Handing Out Zulu Coconuts
The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club is one of the oldest traditionally black krewes – or parade hosts – in Mardi Gras history. The organization is known for handing out Zulu coconuts, or “golden nuggets.” The earliest reference to these coconuts appears in 1910.

The first coconuts were left in their original hairy state, but years later, Zulu members started painting and decorating them. Getting a Zulu coconut is one of the most sought after traditions during Mardi Gras.

By Philip Ross
International Business Times

Seasons of the Witch – Legends and Lore, Ancient Holidays And Some Not So Ancient!

Egyptian Comments & Graphics

Seasons of the Witch – Legends and Lore, Ancient Holidays And Some Not So Ancient!

Today Is …


Day Dedicated to Ix Chel. Invoke Her aid in any project with which you are having difficulty.

Vinalia Rustica In ancient Rome, a wine-harvest celebration known as the Vinalia Rustica was held each year on this date. It was dedicated to the Goddess Venus of the Grape Vine and also to Minerva.

On this date in the year 1692, the Reverend George Burroughs and John Willard were put to death on Salem’s infamous Gallows Hill as punishment for the crime of Witchcraft.

Egypt/Kemet: This date roughly corresponds to the start of the ancient calendar month of Paopi, the Egyptian New Year. Ptah is honored by some as Netjer of this month, an ancient God, also called Peteh, whose center of worship was Mennefer/Memphis. He was the ‘sculptor of the earth’ to the people, and his spirit existed when the primeval mound formed from the waters. His identity later merged with that of Osiris and other creator Gods. There were rituals in the temples honoring Osiris, Ra, and Horus on this day.

Wales: Ancient Bardic Tourney of Druids. Group singing and processions.

First of the month of FRUCTIDOR (fruit) in the French revolutionary calendar.

Wales: Ancient Bardic TUORNEY OF DRUIDS. Group singing, processions, musical & literary competitions, awarding of bardic degrees.

St. Helena – On Old British legends say that Helena was the daughter of Old King Cole and married the British officer, Constantine, who later became Emperor of Rome, For political reasons, he repudiated her and married Theodora, the daughter-in-law of the previous Emperor Maximilian. When Helena’s son, Constantine, became Emperor and Christian, she too converted. She sponsored several excavations looking for the Holy Cross. Supposedly she also located the crosses on which the good and bad thieves were crucified which means she can be invoked for help in discovering thieves.

This is a name day feast for anyone named Ellen or Helene or any variation of those names. Attwater, Donald, Dictionary of Saints, Penguin 1965 Rufus, Anneli, The World Holiday Book, Harper San Francisco 1994

20: Full Moon – Corn Moon 29 August 2015 20: Birthday of author Ann Moura in 1947 31: Birthday of author Raymond Buckland

GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast Archives Remember the ancient ways and keep them sacred! )0( Live each Season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. ~Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

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Courtesy of GrannyMoonsMorningFeast

Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Dedication Day of the Temple of Hercules

30 June

Dedication Day of the Temple of Hercules

In ancient Rome this was the Dedication day of the temple of Hercules and the Muses. The temple was built by Marcus Fulvius Nobilior out of the fines he had collected as a censor in 179 B.C. It seems that when he was in Greece, he had heard of Hercules, leader of the Muses (normally a function of Apollo). The temple was quite elaborate, and Fulvius set up a calendar inscription, statues of the nine Muses, and one of Hercules playing a lyre. The rites would have included a procession with a sacrifice and games.

Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Festival of Intium Aestatis/Death of Julian the Blessed

The Witch AltarJune 27th

Festival of Intium Aestatis/Death of Julian the Blessed


In ancient Rome, the festival of Intium Aestatis kicked of the beginning of Summer in honor of Aestas, the Goddess of Summer.

It was on this day in 363 c.e., that Julian “The Apostate” died from a fatal wound received in battle. Julian was name “The Apostate” by Christian writers because he reinstated the Pagan cults after Christianity had become the established religion of the Roman Empire.

Julian was brought up in Cappadocia and given a Christian tian education, but he had a passion for the classics and the old Gods. When Julian became emperor, he openly professed his Pagan beliefs and attempted to revive some of the older ideals and a tolerance for all religions. Unfortunately, his philosophy losophy did not sit well with the Christian bishops, who were politically influential at the time.

There was little support for Julian’s return to Paganism, despite his stand. Furthermore, many of the Roman officials disliked Julian’s efforts to improve the lot of the Jews in the Empire or his preparations for a long war with Persia. Julian set out with some 65,000 infantry and cavalry in March 363. He crossed the Syrian desert, capturing small cities along the way. He reached Ctesiphon in June, but it could not be breached. He ordered a tactical retreat up the Tigris. On June 26, he was wounded in a skirmish, and he died on June 27. It is very possible that his death was ordered ahead of time by disgruntled politicians and carried out by one of his own soliders.

Seasons of the Witch – Legends and Lore, Ancient Holidays And Some Not So Ancient!

WitchSeasons of the Witch – Legends and Lore, Ancient Holidays
And Some Not So Ancient!

Today Is …

Ancient Rome: Lundi Piscateri, the Festival of Fishermen, is celebrated in the Roman traditions with a ritual and blessing of the boats of fishermen.

Greece: Festival of Eurydice, a tree nymph who was transformed into an underworld goddess after dying from a serpent bite was honored annually in ancient Greece.
Ask Her for a dream or vision!

Ancient Egyptian: Day of the procession of Sopdu, the Warrior.

1873 – US: Susan B. Anthony arrested for voting

The Cleansing Lily ~ Annual purification ritual to drive away the evil spirits of the rainy season takes place on this date in Nara, Japan. Lily stalks are blessed by seven white-robed priestesses, and a traditional dance is performed.

Remember The Ancient Ways and Keep Them Holy!

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Courtesy of GrannyMoonsMorningFeast

Celtic Comments & Graphics
Seasons of the Witch – Legends and Lore, Ancient Holidays And Some Not So Ancient!

Remember The Ancient Ways and Keep Them Holy!


Ancient Egyptian: Ma’at unites as one with all the Netjeru of the heavens Ancient Rome: The Ides of June and climax of Vestalia. Ma’at is the Goddess of truth, justice and the order of the universe. Her symbol is the feather. She sits in the underworld, judging the souls that pass through.

Celebration of the Muses: Calliope – song, Clio – history, Euterpe – lyric song, Thalia – comedy, Melpomene – tradedy, Terpsichore – dance, Erto – erotic poetry, Polyhymnia – sacred hymns, and Urania – astronomy. Select your favorite(s) and dedicate your day to Her.

On this date in the year 1648, Margaret Jones of Charlestown, Massachusetts, was executed in Boston for practicing Witchcraft and magickal healing. This was the first pre-Salem Witch execution to be officially recorded in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Trinity Sunday – The Sunday after Pentecost is set aside by Catholics for honoring the doctrine of the Trinity, the three deities in one: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Urlin comments wryly that “perhaps the identification of this day with a dogma, rather than an event, or a personage, has tended to discourage the growth of folk-lore around it. At any rate, there is a certain dearth of Trinity Sunday customs recorded by English writers.”

In Russia, this is the day when people got out and collect birch branches and picnic outside. The same is true in Yugoslavia. The floors of the churches are covered with grass and flowers. People weave wreathes during the morning services, then take them home to hang as symbols of blessing beneath icons or above doors.

There is a folk belief in Lorraine, France, that on Trinity Sunday you can see three suns rise. Pansies are the flowers used to decorate for this holy day in Saxony, where they are called Trinity flowers, perhaps because they bloom at this time or because of their tripartite structure. Spicer, Dorothy Gladys, The Book of Festivals, The Woman’s Press 1937
Urlin, E, Festivals, Holy Days and Saints Days

End of Vestalia – In ancient Rome, this day marked the end of the week of festivities devoted to Vesta (see June 7). Her temple was cleaned, the refuse thrown into the Tiber, the penus (or inner storehouse) was closed up and the Vestals went back to their regular duties. This marked the first day (in over six weeks) considered propitious for marrying.
Blackburn, Bonnie and Leofranc, Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Book of Days, Oxford University Press, 2000

St. Vitus – St Vitus is one of those obscure fourth century martyrs. The story goes that his father, angry because his son had been converted to Christianity by his nurse and her husband, turned him over to the authorities. Angels danced for him while he was in prison, thus he is the patron of dancers, actors, mummers and those inflicted with fit-producing diseases like epilepsy and chorea (also known as “St Vitus’ Dance). He is also the patron saint of Bohemia and he helps those who have difficulty rising early. His emblem is a cock or a dog.

If St Vitus’ day be rainy weather
It will rain for thirty days together
Blackburn, Bonnie and Leofranc, Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Book of Days, Oxford University Press, 2000



Courtesy of GrannyMoonsMorningFeast

Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Lemuria

Goth Girl Witch9-13 May


In ancient Rome, May 9 through 11 was Lemuria. This was a time of great consequence and set aside to appease the spirits of the household dead, who were believed to be particularly ticularly active during the month of May. It seems that the most terrifying of the wandering apparitions were those of children who had died young, because they apparently harbored bored ill feelings for the living. The head of the household would rise at midnight and make the mana fico sign (the thumb between the middle of the closed fingers). He would then walk barefoot through the house and scatter black beans as a ransom som so ghosts or spirits would leave the other household members bers alone. Otherwise, they might be carried off.

Little is known of the public rites that took place at this time, except that all state affairs were in abeyance, no battles were fought, no business was conducted, and no marriages were contracted. It is, however, believed that the sacrifices made to Mania (mother of the Lares) on May 11 might have been part of the Lemuria, because Mania was a Goddess of death.

The Between Time

The Between Time

Beltane is one of the most important festivals of the pagan year traditionally marking the arrival of summer in ancient times.

With its counterpart Samhain, Beltane divides the year into its two primary seasons, Winter the Dark and Summer the Light.

It’s the festival of fertility, celebrating beginnings and reproduction, the height of Spring and the flowering of life. Beltane is also known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night. Sacred woods are kindled, (make sure you jump over the Beltane Fire, move through it, or dance clockwise around it).

In ancient Rome, the Floralia from April 27-May 3 was the festival of the Flower Goddess Flora and on May 1 offerings were made to Bona Dea, Mother Earth, the Lares household guardian spirits, and Maia, Goddess of Increase, from whom May gets its name. In Scandinavia, mock battles between Winter and Summer were enacted at this time. In the twentieth century, May Day has been a workers’ holiday in many places

It’s a time of “between time” when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest and most fragile. The two worlds intersect at the crossroads of Beltane where they intermingle and unite and anything may happen. It’s the time when the Faeries return from their winter respite, and people placed rowan branches at their windows and doors for protection from the otherworld. It’s a time of divination and communion with Faery Folk and all Nature Spirits

It is said that the Queen of the Faeries rides out on her white horse on Beltane Eve . If you sit quietly beneath a tree on that night, you may hear the sound of her horse’s bells as she rides by. Turn away quickly and hide your face for if you look upon her she may choose you ! The Scots tell of Thomas the Rhymer who looked on the Queen and has not been seen since.

May is the month of sensuality and sexuality, the reawakening of the earth in vivid colours, vibrant scents, fresh greenery and the sheer joy of summer after a long dormant winter.



Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Concordia

Witchy Comments

Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year


To the ancient Romans, the Goddess Concordia was the personficiation of concord (an agreement between members of the state or between members of groups within a guild) and sometimes associated with the Greek Goddess Homonoia—the incarnation of harmony.

On this day, considered to be the center-post of the first month of the New Year, Concordia was petitioned to help with the formation of favorable partnerships with business as well as with love and friendships.

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Celebrating Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Festival of Jana and Janus

Celebrating Spirituality 365 Days A Year

Festival of Jana and Janus

On this day the ancient Romans honored Jana, whose name means “luminous sky,” and her husband Janus, the guardian of all passageways. At their festival, a ram was sacrificed to Janus for his continue protection and Jana was invoked to shine her light on the New Year. To the Romans, who believed that the spirit of Janus hovered over all doorways, gates and passageways, this was a time of great consequence.

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The Wicca Book of Days for Feb. 14th – Valentine’s Lovebirds

The Wicca Book of Days for February 14th – Valentine’s Lovebirds

Although February 14th is known as Saint Valentine’s Day and is dedicated to love and lovers, the Valentine who was canonized for having been martyred on account of his Christianity in ancient Roman times had no known connection with romance. It seems that Valentine’s name and patronage became confused over the millennia, and that the day’s association with love and romance arose from the widespread popular belief that birds began mating on this day. In England, it was said that if you were unattached, the first person of the opposite sex that you clapped eyes on on this day would become your husband or wife.

“The Lovers”

If you are not wooed tonight, you may find meditating on The Lovers, the sixth of the major-arcana. Tarot cards, thought-provoking. It portrays a pair of lovers, yet may be concerned with the dual options inherent in making any binding decision.

Winter Solstice Celebrations Around The World – Brumalia

Winter Comments & Graphics

(Roman Kingdom)


Influenced by the Ancient Greek Lenaia festival, Brumalia was an ancient Roman solstice festival honoring Bacchus, generally held for a month and ending December 25. The festival included drinking and merriment. The name is derived from the Latin word bruma, meaning “shortest day” or “winter solstice”. The festivities almost always occurred on the night of December 24.

~Magickal Graphics~