Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Ante Diem XI Kalendas January

Happy first Birthday to my solar child Tristan. May the new year be bright and full of wonder for you.

Modern Date : December 22nd

Ante Diem XI Kalendas January
Eleventh Day to the Kalends of January

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

The Sixth Day of the Saturnalia
The Saturnalia is one of the most festive and uninhibited that the ancient Romans celebrated. It went on for seven days and encompassed the Winter Solstice, a time of religious observance for cultures the world over. Feasts were provided by the temples and were open to the public, the poor and the homeless. Servants and masters were met on equal terms. Unable to prevent the people's festive inclinations at this time of year, the early Christian leaders moved Christmas to December and claimed the celebration for their own.

During the Saturnalia, rules were set aside, schools were closed, and slaves could meet their masters on equal terms. Human kindness was the theme and war and the punishment of criminals was halted. The exchange of gifts was universally practiced. Strenae, which were boughs to which were attached cakes or sweetmeats, were exchanged by visitors and guests. Other common gifts included wax candles (cerei) and sigillaria, which were doll-like clay figures, a particular favorite of children.

The emperor Diocletian was born this day at Dalmatia (Split) in 245 AD.

The Larentalia was originally held this day but sometime after 179 BCE it was moved to the luckier (odd-numbered) day following.

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.

Touji Taisai
In the Japanese Shinto calendar this day is Touji Taisai, sacred to the Sun Goddess Amaterasu-no-Mikuni, heroine of one of the world's great myths of the retreat and return of the Sun. When her brother, the raucous storm god and trickster Susanoo-no-Mikuni, insulted and ridiculed her, she withdrew into a cave and caused the Earth to suffer in such cold and darkness that the other gods came to sing and dance outside her cave until the goddess relented and forgave, and allowed the others to charm her back out. Among the universal symbolisms of such stories is the principle that light avoids wild and violent action, and can tame it only by limiting it in patterns of order, symbolized by music and dance.

Cherokee Sun Festival
The Cherokee people of North America celebrate on this day a very similar festival in honor of the Sun, who has locked herself inside her house in mourning for her dead daughter, and can be induced to re-emerge and smile only by the music and dance of young people.


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