Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ante Diem IV Nonas October

Modern Date : October 4th

Ante Diem IV Nonas October
Fourth Day to the Nones of October

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

Today in 191 B.C, a fast was held in honour of Ceres. Consultation of the Sybilline books ordered a fast to be held every five years in honour of the Roman goddess Ceres, who presided over grain and harvesting. By Augustus' day, the fast was an annual event which curiously coincides fairly closely with the Athenian Thesmophoria.

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).

Rosh Hashana
The Jewish new year begins on the first day of the seventh lunar month, Tishri. Some scholars believe it was derived from a Babylonian post-harvest holiday, when Babylonians were required to pledge their allegiance to the throne. The Jews changed this to a pledge of allegiance to God.

Here's what God had to say about this feast when he spoke to Moses (Leviticus 23:24):

In the seventh month on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no laborious work; and you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord.

This is the start of the Seven Days of Awe or the Days of Tshuvan (repentance, turnabout). By 200 BCE, it was seen as a time of judgement. It was said that at Passover, God's judgement was expressed through lack of grain, at Shavuot, through lack of fruit, at Sukkot, (the full moon festival after Rosh Hashana) through lack of rain.

The rabbis wrote, "one is judged on Rosh Hashanah and one's doom is sealed on Yom Kippur." Four things cross out the doom of a person: righteousness expressed through gifts of charity; prayerful supplication; change of name and change of conduct." Some Jews rename themselves on this day. It is a time for being released from unreasonable vows.

Elul, the month before Tishri, is known as the month of Making Ready. Jews spend it, like the period before any New Years, in preparation and purification. It is a time for evaluation, self-examination and study, often in study groups.

The ritual meal is held on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. As with other New Year celebrations, the dishes served symbolize qualities wished for in the new year, like sweetness (for a sweet year), roundness (for the cycle of the year) and abundance (for prosperity). An apple often represents fullness and honey sweetness. According to the Hacohens, other foods include beets ("so our enemies may be beaten"), a pomegranate for multiplicity of rights, fish for fertility and a lamb's head ("so that we be the head and not the tail").

Navaratri Festival
In India, one of the two Navaratri festivals which give thanks to the Divine Mother for the abundance of the Earth. The Navaratri are among India's most important festivals, celebrated by all the country's main religious and ethnic groups. These ancient festivals are held at the beginning of Spring and Autumn; each day a different aspect of the Goddess is invoked and worshipped. The rites are addressed to Haidakhaneshwari and Durga, among others, two of the most primeval Hindu Goddesses, especially to Durga, whose feast of Durga Puja celebrates the Goddess in her martial aspect as queller of demons and protector against evil. The feast lasts for 9 days, the number of months in a human gestation period, and culminates in the feast of Dussehra on 10/12.

Ramadan begins
During the tenth month of the year, Muslims fast during the day, to commemorate the revelation of the Koran to Mohammed. It is also a time when people give up other bad habits and behavior.

Many people rise while it is still dark to eat a meal before the sun rises. Likewise, the meal that breaks the fast, at the end of the day when the sun sets, is often a feast. Ramadan is a special month of the year for over one billion Muslims throughout the world. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control. Muslims think of it as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives. There are as many meanings of Ramadan as there are Muslims.

The third "pillar" or religious obligation of Islam, fasting has many special benefits. Among these, the most important is that it is a means of learning self-control. Due to the lack of preoccupation with the satisfaction of bodily appetites during the daylight hours of fasting, a measure of ascendancy is given to one's spiritual nature, which becomes a means of coming closer to God. Ramadan is also a time of intensive worship, reading of the Qur'an, giving charity, purifying one's behavior, and doing good deeds.

As a secondary goal, fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate, and learning to thankfulness and appreciation for all of God's bounties. Fasting is also beneficial to the health and provides a break in the cycle of rigid habits or overindulgence.

St. Francis of Assisi
In the Roman Catholic Calendar, feast of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of Friars Minor and celebrated ecologist and animal communicator.

As a young man he led a carefree and frivolous life until one day in the Church of San Damiano he heard the statue of Christ say to him, "Francis, repair my falling house," whereupon he went and sold a bale of fabric from his father's warehouse to pay for the repair of the church. His father was not amused and disowned him whereupon Francis left home, to become a roving preacher of poverty and simplicity. He was also a friend to animals and known for respecting the life force in everything, referring to "Brother Sun" and "Sister Moon." In many places around the world, animals are brought to church on this day to be blessed. Officially he is the patron of Italy, merchants (an association he would probably have abhorred) and ecologists (thanks to Pope John Paul II).

Festival of Orunmila
On this day devotees of the Yoruba and Santeria religions celebrate the festival of Orunmila, the Orisha of Wisdom and Protection from evil. He is recognized as "ibi keji Olodumare" (second only to Olodumare (God)) and "eliri ipin" (witness to creation). Orunmila is also sometimes referred to as Ifa ("ee-FAH"), which is actually the embodiment of knowledge and wisdom and the highest form of divination practice among the Yoruba people. Although Orunmila is not actually Ifa, the close association exists, because he is the one who leads the priesthood of Ifa. Priests of Ifa are called "babalawo" (father of secrets) or Iyanifa (female Ifa priest).

Among West Africans, Orunmila is recognized as a deified Ancestor that was present both at the beginning of Creation and then again amongst them as a prophet that taught an advanced form of spiritual knowledge and ethics.