Thursday, November 03, 2005

Pridie Nonas November

Modern Date : November 4th

Pridie Nonas November
Day before the Nones of November

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

The Plebeian Games in honor of Jupiter were held November 4-17. A feast on November 13 provided the central point in the Ludi Plebeii. The Roman satirist Juvenal once remarked that the city mob in Rome was interested only in bread and circuses: Panem Et Circenses.

November is the ninth month (after March) and is a lucky month which is almost free of religious obligation.

Qudrat Power
This day is the Baha'i feast honoring the Deity as Qudrat -- Divine Power.

St. Emeric
On this day was honoured St. Emeric, the pious son of the pious St. Stephen, king of Hungary in the eleventh century. Emeric was a very promising man, both as a prince and an apostle of Christianity; and he might have attained greater eminence if he had not been carried off by death in the lifetime of his father. As it is, this somewhat obscure Hungarian saint has been a person of some consequence in the world, for from his name has come that of one of the great divisions of the earth. Through his celebrity, his name became a popular one: it was conferred, in the fifteenth century, in the Italian form of Amerigo, upon an Italian surnamed Vespucci. Vespucci did the world some service in extending the knowledge of the continent which Columbus had discovered; and by a strange current of circumstances, this continent came to be recognised by the name America, in honour of Signor Vespucci. When St. Stephen was choosing a name for his first-born son, how little could he have imagined that the one he chose was to be the parent of the noted word America.

Ante Diem III Nonas November

Modern Date : November 3rd

Ante Diem III Nonas November
Three Days till the Nones of November

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

In Egypt, and many parts of the Roman Empire, this day was the last day of the three day Festival of Isis, 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. Called the Hilaria, it is the commemoration of the Heuresis (Finding of Osiris). A sacred performance reenacted the events of Osiris's resurrection. Worshippers went down to the sea at night. The keepers of the robes and the priests brought out a hallowed chest containing a small golden casket. Into this, they poured some clean water, and a great yell came from the group that Osiris had been found. Then some fertile soil was mixed with water along with spices and expensive incenses to form a crescent-moon shaped figure.

39 A.D. -- birth of the poet Lucan (Marcus Annaeus Lucanus)

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Germanus at Caesarea

November is the ninth month (after March) and is a lucky month which is almost free of religious obligation.

St. Malachy
St. Malachy, the "Irish Nostradomus", was a medieval prophet and is honored today. St. Malachy was an Irish Bishop and Seer. He produced an accurate list of future popes which began with Pope Celestine II in the year 1143. His list consists of a single line which gives a clue to the characteristics of each pope. From this list of 112 popes there are to be just 2 more after Pope John Paul II who passed away on 2 April 2005. His predictions regarding the popes have been for the most part pretty accurate regarding the identifying characteristics that each line reveals. St. Malachy doesn't give any predictions or information about what happens after the last pope. According to some other seers, we will have arrived at the end times.

The prevailing view today is that they are elaborate forgeries, probably perpretrated by a school of Jesuits in the 1600s. This is based on the clear relation of the mottos to the various popes until that period, and the need to find oblique references (such as the motto of the Pope's home diocese) to make the particular motto fit the particular pope. The inclusion of anti-popes would also appear to militate against the authenticity of the prophecies.

Nevertheless, as each new conclave comes and goes, people start to become a bit jittery about them since the list apparently runs out soon. In 1958, before the Conclave that would elect Pope John XXIII, Cardinal Spellman of New York hired a boat, filled it with sheep and sailed up and down the Tiber River, to show that he was "pastor et nautor", the motto attibuted to the next Pope in the prophecies.

According to the prophecy, the current Pope may be the second last Pope Gloria Olivæ ("Glory of the Olives"). However, it should be noted that some commentators over the centuries have pointed out that there is nothing that says there will be no popes between Gloria Olivæ and Petrus Romanus. It may be that there will be a long line of popes between them. Prophecy is a fickle beast and comes down to belief and subjective reality.

Eid al-Fitr
In the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Fitr, one of the year's holiest times, comes now at the end of Ramadan, by which time body and soul have been purified by fasting, and devoted ones achieve high energy and clarity.Eid al-Fitr falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month which follows Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. It is a time to give in charity to those in need, and celebrate with family and friends the completion of a month of blessings and joy.

Before the day of Eid, during the last few days of Ramadan, each Muslim family gives a determined amount as a donation to the poor. This donation is of actual food -- rice, barley, dates, rice, etc. -- to ensure that the needy can have a holiday meal and participate in the celebration. This donation is known as sadaqah al-fitr (charity of fast-breaking). On the day of Eid, Muslims gather early in the morning in outdoor locations or mosques to perform the Eid prayer. This consists of a sermon followed by a short congregational prayer.

After the Eid prayer, Muslims usually scatter to visit various family and friends, give gifts (especially to children), and make phone calls to distant relatives to give well-wishes for the holiday. These activities traditionally continue for three days. In most Muslim countries, the entire 3-day period is an official government/school holiday.

St Hubert
St. Hubert was a worldly young Belgian nobleman who liked to hunt. One day while engaged in his favorite pursuit, he met a stag in the forest with a shining cross between its antlers. (Jagermeister anyone?) He immediately converted and became the patron of dogs and the chase. He is also invoked against rabies.

Hunting season opens on his day. Belgians bring specially prepared breads to a Mass held in his honor. The blessed bread is taken home, where a sacred sign is made over it, and it is then eaten. Pieces are fed to dogs, horses and other animals to protect them from rabies. St. Hubert seems to have inherited some customs and qualities associated with Odin and other male divinities who led the hunt and oversaw the activities of the dead.

St Martin de Porres
This Catholic saint was the son of a Spanish knight and a Panamanian woman of Indian or Black descent. He was trained as a barber but became a Dominican monk at the age of 15. He was known for his tending of the poor and sick, especially Negro slaves, and abandoned dogs and cats. He is the patron saint of racial harmony, as well as the patron saint of Italian hairdressers and barbers.