Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Pridie Nonas October

Modern Date : October 6th

Pridie Nonas October
Day before the Nones of October

This is one of the dies comitiales when committees of citizens could vote on political or criminal matters.

The Battle of Cibalae was fought this day in 316 AD. Constantine, who had shrewdly recognized the predominance of Christianity in his army while noting that Licinius was backed by the old order of pagan nobles. Capitalizing on these differences, he had the army display the Christian cross on flags, which must have pleased and united the soldiers, while undermining the morale of Licinius' soldiers, many of whom were also Christians. Constantine defeated Licinius, sentenced him to exile, and later had him murdered. Although Christians claim Constantine was converted to the new religion by a vision on the way to battle, this was merely a later Christian fabrication. There was no contemporary corroboration of any such event, and in fact, Constantine never became a practicing Christian and never got baptized until the day he died.

On this day in 610 AD Pharos is defeated and executed, and Heraclius became emperor.

According to some accounts, the Jews reckoned this was the day the universe was created in the year 3761 BC.

October was the eighth month of the old Roman calendar and was sacred to the goddess Astraea, daughter of Zeus and Themis. The name October comes from Octo, meaning eight (March used to be the first month).

Vishnu Festival of Haribodhini Ekadasi
Hindu worshipers of Vishnu celebrate a ten day festival honoring their god. Haribodhini Ekadasi is the day when Lord Vishnu, revered by Hindus as the supreme god, awakens from his annual four-month rest, which he spends reclining on the coiled body of an enormous serpent. Celebrations leading up to the festival begin 10 days before the big event. The faithful bathe in sacred waters, chant his name 1008 times, and make secret offerings of alms by hiding them in unripe pumpkins. The faithful also visit Changu Narayan, one of the four major Bishnu temples in Kathmandu, to honor him with a vigil. On the day of Ekadasi, devotees throng Bishnu temples, particularly Budhanilkantha in Kathmandu, where a fair takes place that continues till the full moon day (November 8). People who fail to honor the god Vishnu at this time risk being reborn as roosters or human mutes.

St Faith
Worshipped throughout England and France in the Middle Ages, but little is known about her. Kightly(The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore) says she was executed by being grilled over a fire, therefore cakes are made in her honor. In northern England, young girls used these cakes to divine their future husbands. On the eve of her feast, three girls should make a cake of flour, salt, sugar and spring water and turn it nine times as it bakes, each girl turning it three times. Then it is cut into three and each girl's share is divided again into nine slivers and each sliver is passed thrice through the wedding ring of a woman married seven years at least. The slivers are then eaten while repeating this prayer:

O good St Faith, be kind tonight
And bring to me my heart's delight
Let me my future husband view
And be my vision chaste and true.
Halliwell, 216 (1849)

Then the ring is hung from the bed-head on a cord and the girls go straight to bed to await their oracular dreams.

Her unreliable legend tells that she was hauled before Dacian, procurator at Agen, France, for her Christianity during Diocletian's persecution of the Christians. She was then tortured to death for her Christianity on a red-hot brazier. Also executed with her was St. Alberta (March 11th); when some of the spectators objected, Dacian had them beheaded.


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