Ancient Roman Festivals (Feriae)

by Erin on January 14, 2012

Since we took a look at ancient Greek festivals yesterday, it seems fair to explore some ancient Roman festivals today.

You may have noticed that I included the word feriae in the title of this post. Oooh, bonus points for paying attention! Anyway, feriae simply means festival.

Bacchanalia | Dionysiac festivals held in honor of the god Bacchus, Bacchanalia were so notorious in ancient Rome that the Roman Senate suppressed the celebration of these rites in 186 B.C.E.

Feralia | This Roman festival was a type of All Souls Day when the departed were honored.

Floralia | The Floralia was a festival devoted to Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers and plants.

Liberalia | This festival was a celebration for the Roman god Liber (who, incidentally, was identified with the Greek god Dionysos).

Lemuria | The name Lemuria indicates the time during which the lemures, or “hungry ghosts”, wandered the earth.

Lupercalia | Fertility and purification were the goals of the somewhat strange Roman festival known as the Lupercalia.

Parentalia | This All Souls festival was used to honor the dead, and it culminated in the public celebration of the Feralia (see above).

Saturnalia | This merry Roman festival dedicated to the Roman god Saturn involved feasts and gift giving - sound familiar?

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