Monday, November 28, 2005

Ante Diem III Kalendas December

Modern Date : November 29th

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

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

This was called Minerva's Day by the Romans. Minerva was known as Athena to the Greeks. Athena (Minerva) was the goddess of Wisdom and was also known as Pallas Athena and 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.

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

St. Saturninus
A festival of the sons of Saturn in their saintly guise as St. Saturninus. Saturninus, "son of Saturn," was a name taken up by Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto.

St. Saturninus was, says Tillemont, one of the most illustrious martyrs France has given to the Church. We possess only his Acts, which are very old, since they were utilized by St. Gregory of Tours. He was the first bishop of Toulouse, whither he went during the consulate of Decius and Gratus (250). Whether there were already Christians in the town or his preaching made numerous conversions, he soon had a little church. To reach it he had to pass before the capitol where there was a a temple, and according to the Acts, the pagan priests ascribed to his frequent passings the silence of their oracles. One day they seized him and on his unshakeable refusal to sacrifice to the idols they condemned him be tied by the feet to a bull which dragged him about the town until the rope broke. Two Christian women piously gathered up the remains and buried them in a deep ditch, that they might not be profaned by the pagans. His successors, Sts. Hilary and Exuperius, gave him more honourable burial. A church was erected where the bull stopped. It still exists, and is called the church of the Taur (the bull). The body of the saint was transferred at an early date and is still preserved in the Church of St. Sernin (or Saturninus), one of the most ancient and beautiful of Southern France. His feast was entered on the Hieronymian Martyrology for 29 November; his cult spread abroad. The account of his Acts was embellished with several details, and legends linked his name with the beginning of the churches of Eauze, Auch, Pamplona, and Amiens, but these are without historic foundations.

St Andrew's Eve
In Rumania, the strigoli or vampires come out on the eve of St. Andrew's day so women anoint their locks and casements with garlic to keep them out. The vampires fight among themselves at crossroads, returning to their graves at cockcrow.

St Andrew is also the patron saint of lovers, much like St Valentine. In Czechoslovakia, young women perform divinations on this night. To find out what her husband will look like, a woman goes out to the woodpile and pulls out a stick of wood at random. If it is slim and straight, so will her mate be.

In Hungary, young people pour melted lead into a glass of cold water through the handle of a key. The form assumed foretells the occupation of the future spouse. Dumplings are served with "fortunes" written on pieces of paper inside. In Poland, the method of fortune telling is called Andrzejki. Cherry branches are stuck into wet sand; if they blossom by Christmas, the petitioner will marry.

According to Tille(German Christmas and the Christmas-Tree), in Silesia, women go out at midnight to pluck branches from apricot trees, which they put in water. They bring the flowering branch to Christmas Mass and it enables them to see all the witches (recognized by the wooden pails they carry on their heads) while the clergyman says the blessing.

Uinal of Darkness
In the Mayan calendar systems, this day begins the Uinal of Darkness, the tenth of the 20-day uinals in the current cycle of the Tzolkin, the 260-day sacred calendar (12 Imix, Tzolkin 181). The symbolic bird for this uinal is the Horned Owl, the energy principle that of Destruction in preparation for the uinal that comes next.