Saturday, December 24, 2005

Ante Diem IX Kalendas January

Modern Date : December 24th

Ante Diem IX Kalendas January
Ninth Day to the Kalends of January

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

The Juvenalia
The Juvenalia is a Roman festival day for the young. This holiday was created by Caligula and added to Saturnalia. This was a celebration of the birth of new life and a festival honoring children, who were given talismans (like bells, shoes, warm clothes and toys) for good luck in the coming year.

The emperor Galba was born this day near Terracina in 3 BCE.

On this day in 562 AD, the emperor Justinian dedicated the restored church of St. Sophia in Constantinople.

This was New Year's Day in the Druidic calendar, the 1st day of the 1st month of the 13 month calendar. The sequent letter was B for the tree Birch or Wild Olive.

Decima, the middle Fate in charge of the present, presides over December, but the month may have received its name as the tenth month of the Roman calendar. Vesta, patroness of fire also laid claim to the month of December.

The Mothers
The Venerable Bede, writing about the customs of the pagan Anglo Saxons who he was trying to convert in 6th century England, mentions their practice of celebrating a holiday he called Modranicht or Modresnacht on the eve of Christmas. This "night of the Mothers" was evidently a sacred night devoted to a group of feminine divinities, like those pictured on carvings and statues all over Celtic France and Britain which show three women together, holding children and fruit, fish, grain and other bounties of the earth. Bede changed the date of Modranicht (Modresnach, the Norse Festival of Mother's Night) from it's original time of Winter Solstic eve. See:

Adam and Eve's Day
In the 14th and 15th century, miracle plays depicting the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise were performed in churches on the Eve of Christmas. As part of the scenery, apples were tied on evergreen trees, one of the possible sources of the Christmas tree.