Making impressions


21/02/13

Happy Feralia!

Filed under: Ghostly History & theory — loretta @ 05:39:35 pm

Today (21st Feb) marks the last day of the Roman festival of Parentalia (a nine day feast to honour the ancestors). It was called the Feralia and celebrated the Manes - the deceased love ones. Ovid describes sacred offerings of flower-garlands, wheat, salt, wine-soaked bread and violets to the Manes at family tombs outside the City boundary.
It was a day of placation and cleansing in preparation for the Carista, a private holiday on the next day which involved a family banquet in honour of the Lares (ancestral spirits) and reconciliation within the family.
The 22nd February later became a festival of All Souls in some parts of Europe in the Middle Ages. Before moving to the 2nd November to follow the Feast of All Saints on the 1st.
The Roman festivals for ghosts and spirits seem to have had a significant influence on the Christian church’s commemoration day of the dead and on the associated eve of Halloween.
In ancient Rome, although the dead are honoured there is a deep respect arising from fear in the Feralia and Lemuria. They have a spooky element to them where the pater familias confronts the ghosts and their malevolent side at midnight.

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