Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ante Diem XV Kalendas December

Modern Date : November 17th

Ante Diem XV Kalendas December
Fifteenth Day to the Kalends of December

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

The emperor Vespasian was born Titus Flavianus Vespasianus at Falacrinae this day in 9 AD.

On this day in 375 AD, the emperor Valentinian died in Pannonia and his son Gratian became emperor.

On this day in 54 AD, 35 days after the poisoning death of Claudius, the following draft proclamation was issued in Egypt, "The caesar who was owed to his ancestors, god manifest, has gone to join them, and the Emperor whom the world expected and hoped for has been proclaimed, the good genius of the world and source of all blessings, Nero Caesar, has been proclaimed. Therefore ought we all wearing garlands and with sacrifices of oxen to give thanks to all the gods. The 1st year of Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, the 21st of the month of Neus Sebastus." Nero went on to be known as the second most insane Emperor, the first being Caligula.

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

Leonid Meteor Shower
The Leonid meteor shower peaks today. The Leonids are the most highly variable of all the notable meteor showers, ranging from spectacular displays to little or no action from one year to another. There were great Leonid showers in 1998 and 1999. This year's will suffer some interference from the waning Moon.

Ardvi Sura Anahita
In the Persian Calendar, this day marks the feast of Ardvi Sura Anahita. Ardvi Sura Anahita is the goddess of all the waters and the source of the cosmic ocean. She drives a chariot pulled by four horses: wind, rain, cloud and sleet. She is regarded as the source of life, purifying the seed of all males and the wombs of all females, and cleansing the milk in the breasts of all mothers. Because of her connection with life, warriors in battle prayed to her for survival and victory.

In a vivid description, Ardvi Sura Anahita is compared to a fair maid with a strong body, tall, pure and nobly born of a glorious race, wearing: a mantle fully embroidered with gold, golden earrings and necklace; ever holding the baresma (barsom — bundle of consecrated twigs).

Anahita is worshipped by heroes and anti-heroes alike in the Avesta, who pray to her and offer sacrifices. The important status of this goddess is best seen in the struggle between good and evil and the confrontation between the kings of Iran and the rulers of Turya (Turan), the area to the north-east of Iran.

Chinese Festival of the Dead
Some families in parts of China celebrate this day as the last of three yearly festivals for the dead. An ancient belief dictates that the dead need protection from the winter chill. Making paper garments, the families bundle them together with a little money and burn them. This symbolically sends them to the world of the ancestors.