Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ante Diem IV Kalendas January

Modern Date : December 29th

Ante Diem IV Kalendas January
Fourth Day to the Kalends of January

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

In Egypt, this was celebrated as the Birthday of Ra, the Sun God, whom the Romans knew as Helios. Ra (Helios) had a temple at Heliopolis that covered 441 square kilometers, with 64 orchards, 103 villages, and 12,693 personnel.

This day continues the Halcyon days, or the period of celebration and goodwill associated with the beginning of winter and the new solar year.

Decima, the middle Fate in charge of the present, presides over December, but the month may have received its name as the tenth month of the Roman calendar. Vesta, patroness of fire also laid claim to the month of December.

The most important of the Egyptian gods, the personification of the (midday) sun. According to the Heliopolitan cosmology he created himself from a mound that arose from the primeval waters of Nun or out of a primordial lotus flower. He then created Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture), who in turn engendered the earth-god Geb and the sky-goddess Nut. Re was said to have created humankind from his own tears and the gods Hu and Sia from blood drawn from his own penis.

The sun itself was taken to be either his body or his eye (the 'Eye of Ra'). The center of his cult was from the very beginning in Heliopolis, where he was also venerated in the forms of Atum (the setting sun) and Khepri (the rising sun) and, in connection to the morning sun, as Ra-Harachte. As Ra-Atum he is the creator who gives light and warmth and thus growth. Re was often combined with other deities to enhance the prestige of the latter, as in Ra-Atum or Amun-Ra.

It was said that Re traveled each day in his solar barque through the sky, starting in the morning. At night, Ra journeyed through the underworld in another barque. And each night, the monster Apep would try to prevent the sun-god from emerging again: the eternal battle between light and darkness. The gods Seth and Mehen accompanied him and were often depicted defending Ra's barque. Others believed that Ra could be found at night in the underworld, consoling and giving support to the dead. Ra is also the god of the pharaohs and since the fourth dynasty the Egyptian kings styled themselves 'sons of Ra'. After death, the monarch was said to ascend into the sky to join the entourage of Ra.

St. Thomas a Becket
In the Roman Catholic calendar, this is the feast of St. Thomas a Becket, Chaucer's "hooly blisful martyr" of the Canterbury Tales, whose cathedral was and is the most visited Christian pilgrimage site in England. St. Thomas a Becket's story of fatal defiance to the will of Henry the Lion is still one of the most oft-retold dramas of spiritual honor and sacrifice.

Vohu Manah
In the Zoroastrian calendar, festival of the creator and protector of animal life, Vohu Manah, one of the seven male and seven female emanations of the Deity.


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