Floralia: The Roman May Day Celebration

Floralia: The Roman May Day Celebration

 

The Romans had a celebration for just about everything. Certainly, any Roman deity worth their salt got a holiday of their own, and Flora was no exception. She was the goddess of spring flowers and vegetation, and one of many fertility goddesses. In fact, she was so well respected as a fertility deity that she was often seen as a the patron deity of Roman prostitutes.

Her holiday originated around 235 b.c.e. It was believed that a good festival ensured that Flora would protect the blooming flowers around the city. At some point the celebration was discontinued — but it clearly took its toll when wind and hail did some serious damage to the flowers of Rome. In 173 b.c.e., the Senate reinstated the holiday, and renamed it the Ludi Floralis, which included public games and theatrical performances.

Oxford professor and anthropologist E.O. James discusses the Maypole and its connection to Roman traditions in his 1962 article, The Influence of Folklore On the History of Religion. James suggests that trees were stripped of their leaves and limbs, and then decorated with garlands of ivy, vines and flowers as part of the festival of Floralia. Other theories include that the trees, or poles, were wrapped in violets as homage to Attis and Cybele.

The Floralia took place during the five days between April 28 and May 3. Citizens celebrated with drinking and dancing. Flowers were everywhere, in the temples and on the heads of revelers.

Anyone making an offering to Flora might give her a libation of milk and honey.

 

 

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Today Is …

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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 loosethey 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

Courtesy of GrannyMoonsMorningFeast

 

 

Beltaine Correspondences

Beltaine Correspondences

Also known as: May Day, Bealtaine, Beltane, Bhealtainn, Bealtinne, Festival of Tana (Strega), Giamonios, Rudemass, and Walburga (Teutonic), Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),Fairy Day ,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)

Date: May 1

Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard

Deities: Flower Goddesses, Divine Couples, Deities of the Hunt, Aphrodite,

artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.Tools: broom, May Pole, cauldronStones/Gems: emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartzColors: green, soft pink, blue, yellow, red, brown

Herbs and Flowers: almond tree/shrub, ash, broom, cinquefoil, clover, Dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, frankincense, honeysuckle, rowan, sorrel, hawthorn, ivy, lily of the valley, marigold, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, thyme, woodruff may be burned; angelica, bluebells, daisy, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, primrose, and rose may be decorations, st. john’s wort, yarrow, basically all flowers.

Incense: frankincense, lilac, rose.

Symbols and Decorations: maypole, strings of beads or flowers, ribbons, spring flowers, fires, fertility, growing things, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers, butterchurn, baskets, eggs

Food: dairy, bread, cereals, oatmeal cakes, cherries, strawberries, wine, green salads.

Activities and Rituals: fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting

Wiccan mythology: sexual union and/or marriage of the Goddess and God

It’s association with fire also makes Beltaine a holiday of purification.

Wiccan weddings are frequently held on or around Beltaine

 

Source:

PaganPages.org

Celebrating Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Juno—The Feronia

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November 13

Juno—The Feronia

Feronia was a Goddess of Spring flowers and woods (also associated with Flora) and, although this day was named for her, it became a day of recognition for Juno, Minerva and Jupiter. The celebration took place on the Capitoline Hill where all three were enshrined. Juno was the sister-wife of Jupiter, forming a triad with Minerva. The festival would have included an animal sacrifice and an evening torch light processional.