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.