Holidays

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Holidays are an important part of Hellenic religious life across all of the Mediterranean whether Greek or Roman. For the sake of modernity, relevant Graeco-Roman holidays will be adapted to the contemporary Gregorian Calendar.

 

 

Januarius (January)

Kalends (January), Roman era, Gregorian calendar, January 1: First day of the New Year, in honour of Janus. Prayers to Asklepios also recommended.

 

Februarius (February)

Kalends (February), Roman era, Gregorian calendar, February 1: First day of the month.

Parentalia, Roman era, Gregorian calendar, February 13 – February 21: Literally “Ancestors Days” or “Days of the Ancestors”, Parentalia is the February festival celebrating the deceased ancestors of the family and the pater familias.  They are offered flowers, wine-soaked bread, violets salt, and wheat.  Often they are providing a true sacrificial banquet, but these are di inferni, spirits of the underworld.  They are those who dwell below, and proper care must be made in sacrificing to them.

Anthesteria, Greek era, Gregorian calendar, February 19 – February 21: Athenian festivals dedicated to Dionysos and the dead.

Lupercalia, Roman era, Gregorian calendar, February 15: Holiday intended to avert evil spirits and miasma, as well as spread purification; which releases health and fertility.

Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries, Greek era, Gregorian calendar, February 17-23 (Sign of capricorn): Serves as reminders of the Greater Mysteries, in honour of Deo and Kore.

 

Martius (March)

Kalends (March), Roman era, Gregorian calendar, March 1: First day of the month.

Navigium Isidis, Hellenistic-era Egyptian, Gregorian calendar, March 5-6: Festival in honour of Isis marks the opening of the sailing season.

Dionysia, Greek era, Gregorian calendar, March 9 – 16: Holiday dedicated to Bacchus.

Liberalia, Roman era, Gregorian Calendar, March 17: Another holiday dedicated to Bacchus.

Hilaria, Roman era, Gregorian calendar, March 15 – March 28: Numerous day celebration dedicated to the Mother of the Gods and Her lover Attis/Gallus.

Quinquatrus, Roman era, Gregorian Calendar, March 19: When the Temple of Athene on the Aventine Hill was consecrated. Feast day to Athene.

 

Aprilis (April)

Kalends (April), Roman era, Gregorian calendar, April 1: First day of the month. Dedicated to Aphrodite.

Founding of Rome, Roman era, Gregorian calendar, April 21: Day commemorating the founding of Rome by Romulus (Quirinus)

Serapia, Hellenistic-era Egyptian, Gregorian calendar, April 25: Day commemorating Serapis, the ruler of the underworld.

 

Maius (May)

Kalends (May), Roman era, Gregorian calendar, May 1: First day of the month.

Thargelia, Greek era, Gregorian calendar, May 6 – May 7: Celebration in honour of Artemis and Apollo.

Lemuria, Roman era, Gregorian calendar, May 9, 11 and 13: A trio of solemn days for the malevolent and restless dead, for maintaining their memory is as paramount as those of the benevolent ancestors.  Sacrifices are offered as propitiation in order to keep the peace and avoid ill luck from these infernal spirits.

 

Junius (June)

Kalends (June), Roman era, Gregorian calendar, June 1: First day of the month.

Prometheia, Greek era, Gregorian calendar, June 17th: Festival dedicated to Prometheus bestowing reason to mankind.

Vestalia, Roman era, Gregorian calendar, June 7th – 15th: Festival specifically in honor of the Goddess of the house, Vesta, and the spirits of the store chambers, cupboards, and the penates.

 

Julius (July)

Kalends (July), Roman era, Gregorian calendar, July 1: First day of the month.

Panathenaia, Greek era, Gregorian calendar, July 17-24: https://sites.google.com/site/hellenionstemenos/Home/festivals/panathenaia-ta-mikra

Neptunalia, Roman era, Gregorian calendar, July 23: Held in honour of Poseidon. Plea for rain.

 

Augustus (August)

Kalends (August), Roman era, Gregorian calendar, August 1: First day of the month.

Sol Indiges, Roman era, Gregorian calendar, August 9: Minor holiday to King Helios where sacrifice is offered.

Vinalia Rustica, Gregorian calendar, August 19: A rustic harvest festival dedicated to Zeus and Aphrodite, celebrating the grape harvest, vegetable growth and fertility

Vulcanalia, Roman era, Gregorian calendar, August 23: A propitiatory sacrifice during the hot month of August to Hephaistos (Vulcan) in order to protect the home and livelihood from the ravages of fire.  Traditional practices include sacrificing small fish into bonfires so that humans would not be harmed.

 

September (September)

Kalends (September), Roman era, Gregorian calendar, September 1: First day of the month. Ceremonies dedicated to Jupiter Tonans (“the Thunderer”) on the Capitolium, and Juno Regina on the Aventine.

Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, Greek era, Gregorian calendar, September 6-12 (Sign of cancer): In honour of Deo and Kore. Called great when the Goddess departs, (At least, the other equinox is in mythology the time of the kidnap of Kore, which is the descent of the souls.)

Apollo Campus Martius, Roman era, Gregorian calendar, September 23: Anniversary of the rededication of the Temple of Apollo in the Campus Martius; Leto is also honored

 

October (October)

Kalends (October), Roman era, Gregorian calendar, October 1: First day of the month. Dedicated to the deity Pistis (Fides in Latin).

Thesmophoria, Greek era, Gregorian calendar, October 2-4:

 

November (November)

Kalends (November), Roman era, Gregorian calendar, November 1: First day of the month.

Feastday of Julian, Later Roman era, Gregorian calendar, November 8: Feast day dedicated to the coronation of Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus, the great reformer of Hellenism, as Caesar of the west.

 

December (December)

Kalends (December), Roman era, Gregorian calendar, December 1: First day of the month. Dedicated to Poseidon and Pietas.

Saturnalia, Roman era, Gregorian calendar, December 17-23rd: Festivals that goes on for numerous days in celebration of the Winter Solstice with a particular focus on the golden age of Saturn.

  • Opalia, Roman era, Gregorian calendar, December 19: Festival in honour of Ops

Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, Later Roman era, Gregorian calendar, December 25th: Winter Solstice celebration dedicated to the birthday of God.