Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 110


Date Apr 21 Every year

Description Parilia was a festival described in detail by Ovid in Fasti. It took place on April 21st and consisted of offerings of grains, cakes, and milk to the god of shepherds, Pales. It served as a festival for protection and fertility for farms.

The purpose of the festival was twofold. Originally, it was a pastoral festival to purify both sheep and shepherd. Later, the festival was recognized as the birthday of Rome, the day on which Romulus killed Remus and founded the city in 753 BCE. The Parilia is outstanding among Roman festivals as it incorporates both the rural and urban celebrations of Roman religion, and also incorporates elements from other festivals.

The origins of the Parilia are not entirely certain. The original festival itself is believed to predate the founding of the city. It is believed to have evolved from very early pagan celebrations of spring and fertility. It was originally a celebration of the deity Pales. The identity of Pales is somewhat obscure as well. It is unknown whether the deity was male or female, or even if it was intended to be a single deity or pair of deities. In the Fasti, Ovid invokes Pales as a singular female deity. Some identify certain statues of an elderly woman leaning on a shepherd staff as Pales, but others hesitate to make this claim, and believe no representations of Pales actually exist. Offerings were often made "sive deo sive deae." The association of the Parilia with Pales is, in fact, in doubt. However, references to the Parilia as the Palilia reinforce the association.

April 21
John Muir born (1838)

I would have loved to gone a wandering with you, John.

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