Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ante Diem VII Kalendas March

Modern Date : February 23rd

Ante Diem VII Kalendas March
Seventh Day to the Kalends of March

This day is for special religious observance.

The Terminalia
This day, the Terminalia, is the last day of the sacral year, or the annual cycle of religious holidays. Ovid says the rites of the Terminalia form the close of all others. The rites of the Terminalia included ceremonial renewal and mutual recognition of the boundary stone, the marker between properties. A garland would be laid on this marker by all parties to the land so divided. Anyone who accidentally or intentionally moved these stones was accursed. After kindling a fire, honey-cakes, fruits and wine would be offered and shared, and songs of praise to the god called Terminus would be sung. Terminus was considered to have the appearance of stone and was often honored with the placement of a large stone at the boundaries, much as farmers do today in various countries. With this feast, the year as a whole comes to an end, as the Roman new year began traditionally on March 1st.

Valentinian was made Augustus this day in 364 AD.

February was named for the Roman goddess Februa, mother of Mars. As patroness of passion, she was also known as Juno Februa and St. Febronia from febris, the fever of love.

St Mildburga
This sixth century Shropshire saint was associated with plowing and sewing from an early date. She protected a newly-sown field from the depredations of worms and geese. While fleeing from her enemies she caused water to spring up out of the ground and a field of barley to grow to maturity in one day. Her feast day falls in the middle of the spring wheat sowing season in Shropshire.

St Polycarp
The LaPlante sisters(Heaven Help Us: the Worrier's Guide to the Patron Saints) recommend St Polycarp as the saint to invoke when looking for a parking spot, although the connection between his life (he was a student of the Apostle John, a Bishop of Smyrna and martyred at the age of 86) and parking places is obscure. They suggest the following prayer: "Polycarp, find me a spot."