Consualia or Consuales Ludi
This was the festival of Consus, god of the grain stores and councils, who also had festivals on July 7th and August 21st. (His consort Opalia was honoured on December 19th and his August festival followed by the Opiconsivia in her honour on August 25th ). His name seems to be Etruscan or Sabine in origin and relate to ‘crops/ seeding’ (conserere = ‘to sow’). He may have become the god of secret councils from a misinterpretation of his name, from consilium (‘councils/assemblies), not to be confused with counsel (‘advice’).
At this time of year, the harvest was in stored vaults underground. The temple of Consus was also underground, near the Circus Maximus, with an altar covered with earth which was only uncovered for this festival. He was represented by a grain seed.
During the celebration horses, mules, and asses were exempted from work, and were led through the streets adorned with garlands and flowers. Chariot races were held this day in the Circus Maximus, which included an unusual race in which chariots were pulled by mules. Consus was often called Neptunus Equestris (‘Equestrian Neptune’) and seems to be connected with Neptune (Poseidon), the sea god who created horses.
Mars, as a protector of the harvest, was also honored on this day, as were the lares, the individual household Gods.
—Anna Franklin, Yule (The Eight Sabbats)
December 1 and 2
Festivals of Neptune and Pietas
Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure, what you do not rightly understand.
-Leonardo Da Vinci
December 1 celebrated the festivals of Neptune and Pietas. This festival was the equivalent to the one that was held on July 23 at the temple dedicated to Neptune in the Circus Flaminus within the Campus Martius. There would have been games, a sacrifice, and, more than likely, some sort of horse and chariot race.
Pieta, a Roman Goddess who was the personification of respectful duty, is often portrayed in human form and sometimes accompanied by a stork, the symbol of deferential duty. She was frequently represented on coins, which were considered to be a symbol of the reigning emperor’s virtues. Her temple was in the Circus Flaminius and later at the Forum Holitorium, where her December 1 festival was held.
It was on the 1st of December in 1750 that seven men (for a wager) buttoned themselves into the waistcoat of Mr. Edward Bright of Maldon, Essex, who had expired at the age of 29 and was considered to be the fattest man that ever lived in Britain.
On December 2, Tibetan Buddhists make their annual pilgrimage to the world’s oldest tree in what it known as Bodh Gaya. The tree was planted in 282 B.c. and is believed to be an offshoot of the Bodhi tree-the tree that the Buddha sat under when he attained enlightenment.