Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ante Diem III Kalendas November

Modern Date : October 30th

Ante Diem III Kalendas November
Third Day to the Kalends of November

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

This day continues the Isia, the Festival of Isis. Isis was widely worshipped in the Roman empire. Isis was the Egyptian mother goddess. Although a foreign deity, Isis was honored with a temple at Rome. Professional singers, musicians, and dancers, mostly female, would perform at the temple during this festival. The performance involved actors playing the parts of Isis and Nephthys in the mystery plays celebrating the death and resurrection of Osiris. These were perhaps the oldest mystery plays on earth, predating even those of Mesopotamia.

On this day in 130 AD, the emperor Hadrian founded Antinopolis in Middle Egypt.

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).

Mercury enters Sagittarius
On this day Mercury enters Sagittarius, where he will remain for a long stay of well over two months, until January of 2006, except for a retrograde move back into Scorpio from 11/26 to 12/12. The sign of the Archer is perhaps Mercury's least advantageous placement. He is said to be "in fall" here, dominated by the far more powerful energy of Jupiter, who rules this sign. A Mercury-in-Sagittarius period is best approached lovingly, communicatively, and with maximum forgiveness.

The five-day festival of Diwali begins on the 13th day of the dark half of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin, which is called Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi, from a word which mean wealth. In the cities, householders and businessmen clean and decorate their premises with designs that welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Small footprints are drawn all over the houses with rice flour and vermilion powder to welcome her in. Women try to buy gold or silver or a new utensils during the festival to represent the wealth they wish to bring into their lives. Farmers decorate and honor cattle, their main source of wealth. In the south, cows are worshipped as an incarnation of the goddess.

Every evening people perform Lakshmi-Puja, lighting diya (small clay lamps) in her honor, which are left burning through the night. People also sing devotional songs in her praise and offer her Naivedya, sweets. In Maharashtra, the Naivedya consists of lightly pounded dry coriander seeds and jaggery. Images of Lakshmi are bathed, often in milk. Women bathe and put on perfume in her honor.

Another story is told that explains the imagery of this festival. According to his horoscope, the sixteen-year-old son of King Hima was supposed to die of a snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. His young bride filled his room with gold and lit lamps and kept him awake telling stories and singing songs. When the God of Death, Yam, arrived in the form of a serpent, he was so dazzled by all the bright objects and distracted by her stories, that he slipped away in the morning without attacking the prince. So this day is also known as Yamadeepdaan.

This is a special day for Ayurvedic healers, as it is said that the main divinity of Ayur-Vignan (knowledge of life), called Dhnvantary, manifested on this day.

Reformation Sunday
Lutherans and some other Protestant denominations celebrate Reformation Sunday on the Sunday closest to Oct. 31, the day on which, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed to the door of Wittenberg cathedral the famous 95 theses that would launch the Protestant Reformation.

Fish Harvest Festival
In an ancient tradition established by the Fishmongers' Company which goes back to the time of Henry II, people bring 39 different kinds of fish, representing the 39 different articles of religion, to St Dunstan's-in-the-East, in London's Lower Thames Street to be blessed on the Sunday nearest All Souls' Day