Friday, March 03, 2006

Ante Diem V Nonas March

Modern Date : March 3rd

Ante Diem V Nonas March
Fifth day to the Nones of March

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

Festival of Mars
This is the third day of the Festival of Mars. The daily spectacle of the priests of Mars leaping and dancing through the streets of Rome would continue this day.

The month of March belongs to the warlike Mars, the deity who personifies the protection of the state and the productivity of the community. In this context Mars represents the terrestial origin of life and the rhythm of the ensuing year. This day was considered to be Mars' birthday. Mars was known to the Greeks as Ares, the god of war. The war god was wild and ungovernable, a god who glorified in strife for its own sake and revelled in slaughter. He was thought to gloat over the death and destruction he caused. He was typically accompanied by his two sons Deimos (Fear or Terror) and Phobos (Dismay or Flight from Fear). The Romans held a milder, more honorable view of Mars, honoring him as the son of Zeus and the father of Romulus.

The month of March belongs to the warlike Mars, the deity who personifies the protection of the state and the productivity of the community.

Aegir/St. Winnal
Aegir, the Norse sea god is honored today. He and his Christian counterpart, St. Winnal, control the sea's tide and weather. This day is associated with storms.

Aegir is the god of the sea in Norse mythology. He was both worshipped and feared by sailors, for they believed that Aegir would occasionally appear on the surface to take ships, men and cargo alike, with him to his hall at the bottom of the ocean. Sacrifices were made to appease him, particularly prisoners before setting sail.

His wife is the sea goddess Ran with whom he has nine daughters (the billow maidens), who wore white robes and veils. His two faithful servants are Eldir and Fimafeng. The latter was killed by the treacherous god Loki during a banquet the gods held at Aegir's undersea hall near the island of Hler (or Hlesey). Aegir was known for the lavish entertainment he gave to the other gods.

St Winnal is the Christian version of Aegir, a Teutonic god of the sea. When it’s stormy on this day, the month will grow milder. Cf the old saying When March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb.

First comes David,
Next comes Chad,
Then comes Winnal,
Roaring mad.

If it’s not stormy and windy the first three days in March, it’s saving itself for the three borrowing days at the month’s end. The winds of March were considered to dry out the fields and make the soil right for seeding.

Winwaloc(Winnal): Abbot-founder, also called Wonnow, Wynwallow, and Gwenno. Born at Ploufragen, in Brittany, France, he was of Anglo-Saxon descent. At the age of fifteen he entered the monastery on Lauren Island under Abbot Budoc. Several years later he and eleven monks founded Landevenne Monastery near Brest, in Brittany on land donated by Prince Gallo. Winwabe died there. As there are several churches in Cornwall, England, dedicated to him, it is possible that he had some connection with that region or that some of his relics were translated there in later years.

The Japanese Doll festival, O-Hinamatsuri, is celebrated with paper dolls designed to either draw off illness and evil spirits or to act as representatives of the good attributes people want to draw to themselves. The Girls Festival, Jomi No Sekku or Munakata-no-kami, also occurs today. Most Shinto temples actively participate in the Hina-matsuri, Momo-no-sekku, or Jomi-no-sekku.

There are mainly three kinds of dolls: the hina, the tachibina (a paper doll and probably the oldest) and also wooden dolls. Every town is decked with dolls, and every doll-shop in Tokyo, Kyoto, and other large cities is gaily decked with O Hina Sama, the whole Japanese Court in miniature. Many hina dolls are family heirlooms, handed down from mothers to daughters for generations. The regular set (Dairi-hina) consists of fifteen dolls: the lord and lady (Dairi-sama), three ladies-in-waiting (Konjo), five musicians, two retainers and three guards. Many modern hina now represent actors, actresses, baseball players, etc.

Placed beneath the main dolls are various tiny household utensils and furniture, including trays with food bowls, mirrors, musical instruments, boxes, smoking units and many other things. The dolls are offered mochi (rice cakes) dyed in three colors - red, green and white, as well as shirazake, a sweet mild rice wine. New furniture is often added annually. Traditionally, this festival is said to commemorate the birth of the three Muna Katano-Kami, the three daughters of Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess. It is also a favorite day for marriages.

This day is also known as Momo-no-Sekku or Peach Blossom Festival. Originally celebrated on the 3rd day of the 3rd lunar month, it more closely coincided with the blooming of the peach blossoms.

Lesser Mysteries of Rhiannon
Rhyfeddod Lleiaf o Rhiannon, the Lesser Mysteries of Rhiannon, begins at sundown and continues till dawn of March 6th. Rhiannon is the Welsh ancestor goddess of the moon and horses. The horse is a shamanic animal symbolic of movement between worlds. Rhiannon is similar to Epona and Mare, two other goddesses of horses. Mare brings dreams and Epona has the power of transformation at her disposal.

An old Irish custom has it that if fires are lit just before dawn at each corner of a perfect crossroad (according to the cardinal points) before sitting down at the side, you may be able to spy Epona fleeing from the coming sunrise.

Tibetan Great Prayer Festival
In the Tibetan Buddhist calendar, these are the 4th through the 15th days of Monlam, the Great Prayer Festival, culminating at the Full Moon following Losar, the lunar New Year. Over these solemn 12 days, the bright, raucous fun of Losar is followed by New Year ceremonies held in the monasteries. Monlam rites are prohibited in Lhasa, and vistors to the unofficial Travel Tibet website maintained by Tibetans will see a moving box with Chinese red letters warning China's citizens of the penalties for visiting Tibetan blogs.

In some other Buddhist countries of Asia, this two-week period is called Bumjudawa, or "Buddha's 15-day Miracle Time", when the karmic effects of beneficent actions are said to be multiplied 100,000 times.


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