Modern Date : October 7th
The Nones of October
This is one of the dies fasti on which legal actions are permitted. The rex sacrorum would appear on the steps of the Capitol on this day and announce to the people what days of the months would be holidays.
The Nones of October are sacred to Jupiter and to Juno. Sacrifices were offered on the Field of Mars and feasts were held out in the open to which the public, including the poor and the homeless, were invited.
In Greece this day was celebrated as Pallas Athena's Day. Athena (Minerva) was the goddess of Wisdom and was also known as the Maid. She was the daughter of Zeus and Metis. She was endowed with the power of prophecy which she could bestow on mortals. She was the patroness of art, science, and learning. Athena also governed the feminine industry of spinning and weaving. It was for Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, that the Greeks built the Parthenon and in which was housed one of Phidias' greatest works of art, a gold covered statue of the goddess. The Christians, under the emperor Theodosius II, removed the statue to Byzantium, where it was stripped of its gold and destroyed without a trace.
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).
Venus enters Sagittarius
On this day Venus is happy to escape from Scorpio, where she is "in detriment," her powers frayed and weakened even to exhaustion, and enters Sagittarius, where she feels more regally at ease and at home. She is mightiest on Friday 10/28, when she conjoins Pluto on the weekday sacred to her, and remains in Sagittarius until 11/5.
In Rome, this was the dedication day for an open shrine to Jupiter Fulgur (Jupiter Thunderbolt) who was responsible for lightning that appeared in the day. Any place struck by lightning was sacred to Jupiter Fulgur.
Feast of Ma'at
In the ancient Egyptian Calendar, Feast of Ma'at, goddess of Truth (Hethara day 21). Ma'at was the personification of the fundamental order of the universe, without which all of creation would perish. The primary duty of the pharaoh was to uphold this order by maintaining the law and administering justice. To reflect this, many pharaohs took the title "Beloved of Ma'at," emphasizing their focus on justice and truth.
At any event in which something would be judged, Ma'at was said to be present, and her name would be invoked so that the judge involved would rule correctly and impartially. In the underworld, the heart of the deceased was weighed by Anubis against Ma'at's feather. If the heart was heavy with wicked deeds, it would outweigh the feather, and the soul would be fed to Ammit. But if the scales were balanced, indicating that the deceased was a just and honorable person in life, he would be welcomed by Osiris into the Blessed Land. Ma'at's presence in all worlds was universal, and all the gods deferred to her.
The Most Holy Rosary of Mary
Dominic came up with the idea of the rosary during his 13th century campaign against the Albigenisians. Despite this unsavory beginning (the Dominicans went on to become Grand Inquisitors), the rosary is simply the Catholic version of an ancient spiritual practice. Certain prayers are recited as the worshipper's fingers move along beads of different sizes and shapes strung in a circle. Other spiritual traditions use prayer beads or prayer wheels. The repetition of the physical action and words creates a trance-like effect.
Originally it was the Lord's Prayer ("Our Father…") that was recited, hence the name "paternosters" for chains of beads. Hail Marys were added in the twelfth century when Mary worship was at its height.
The Zinacantecos of Mexico have chosen this day to honor the sacred salt well in the village of Zinacantan. The image of the Virgen del Rosario is brought from the village of Salinas. Two special censers filled with copal incense are lowered into the salt well which is then covered with reed mats. The Mayordomos and their wives are then required to spend three days and nights dancing without stopping except to eat and drink rum to pay homage to the Virgin and the well.
Nottingham Goose Fair
This ancient English fair has been held since 1284. Once it began on St Matthews Day (Sep 21) and lasted for eight days (until Michaelmas). Now it takes place on the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday in October.
In earlier times, gooseherds drove geese to the fair where they were sold to be eaten at Michaelmas and Christmas. The geese were "shoed" by dipping their feet in tar, and then sand for the long journey.
Now the fair includes a cattle market plus all the usual activities: playing games, shopping, and eating. Brandy snaps (brandy cookies curled into a cone like a cornucopia and filled with cream) and nougats are favorite "fairings."
Other Goose Fairs and Mop Fairs (because servants are being hired) take place in other towns throughout the early weeks of October. In some places, Runaway Fairs were held the following week for those servants who disliked their new situations.
Sts Sergius and Bacchus
Reading between the lines, these spurious martyrs might be patron saints for gay men and transvestites. Roman army officers, they were also close friends "on the classical Greek model" and apparently closet Christians as well. When they refused to enter the temple of Jupiter, the emperor Maximian had them stripped of their uniforms and forced to walk the streets in women's clothes.
This Greek festival for Demeter was held at Eleusis on the 5th day of the Greek month of Pyanepsion. The name means "Preliminary to the Ploughing," and it was probably a grain sowing rite. Offerings of first fruits (mostly grain) are given to Demeter to ask for her blessing at the beginning of the sowing season. Apollon's oracle told the Athenians to begin the Proerosia in order to end a horrible famine, and this story is recounted at the festival.