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Festivals in ancient Rome were a very important part of Roman religious life during both the
Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
and
Imperial eras
Imperial eras
, and one of the primary features of the
Roman calendar The Roman calendar was the calendar used by the Roman kingdom and Roman Republic, republic. The term often includes the Julian calendar established by the reforms of the Roman dictator, dictator Julius Caesar and Roman emperor, emperor August ...
. ''Feriae'' ("holidays" in the sense of "holy days"; singular also ''feriae'' or ''dies ferialis'') were either public ''(publicae)'' or private ''( privatae)''. State holidays were celebrated by the Roman people and received public funding. Games ''(
ludi ''Ludi'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

ludi
)'', such as the
Ludi ApollinaresThe ''Ludi Apollinares'' were solemn games (''ludi ''Ludi'' (Latin plural) were public games held for the benefit and entertainment of the SPQR, Roman people (''populus Romanus''). ''Ludi'' were held in conjunction with, or sometimes as the major f ...
, were not technically ''feriae'', but the days on which they were celebrated were '' dies festi'', holidays in the modern sense of days off work. Although ''feriae'' were paid for by the state, ''ludi'' were often funded by wealthy individuals. ''Feriae privatae'' were holidays celebrated in honor of private individuals or by families. This article deals only with public holidays, including rites celebrated by the state priests of Rome at temples, as well as celebrations by neighborhoods, families, and friends held simultaneously throughout Rome. ''Feriae publicae'' were of three kinds: * ''Stativae'' were annual holidays that held a fixed or stable date on the calendar. * ''Conceptivae'' were annual holidays that were
moveable feast A moveable feast or movable feast is an observance in a Christian liturgical calendar, borrowed from the Hebrew Lunisolar calendar, which therefore occurs on a different date (relative to the Roman Civil calendar, civil or solar calendar) in diffe ...
s (like
Easter Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer''; "Easter Sunday", used by James Ussher''The Whole Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, Volume 4'' and Samuel Pepys''The Diary of Samuel Pe ...

Easter
on the Christian calendar, or
Thanksgiving Thanksgiving is a national holiday A holiday is a day set aside by Norm (social), custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow ...

Thanksgiving
in North America); the date was announced by the
magistrates The term magistrate is used in a variety of systems of governments and laws to refer to a civilian officer who administers the law. In ancient Rome, a ''Roman magistrate, magistratus'' was one of the highest ranking government officers, and posse ...
or
priests A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particu ...
who were responsible for them. * '' Imperativae'' were holidays held "on demand" (from the verb ''impero, imperare'', "to order, command") when special celebrations or expiations were called for. One of the most important sources for Roman holidays is
Ovid Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō (; 20 March 43 BC – 17/18 AD), known in English as Ovid ( ), was a Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom ...

Ovid
's ''
Fasti In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian i ...
'', an incomplete poem that describes and provides origins for festivals from January to June at the time of
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
.


Keeping the ''feriae''

Varro Marcus Terentius Varro (; 116–27 BC) was a Roman polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, , "having learned much"; la, homo universalis, "universal human") is an individual whose knowledge spans a substantial number of subjects, known ...
defined ''feriae'' as "days instituted for the sake of the gods." Religious rites were performed on the ''feriae'', and public business was suspended. Even
slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
were supposed to be given some form of rest.
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
says specifically that people who were free should not engage in lawsuits and quarrels, and slaves should get a break from their labors.
Agricultural writers Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domestication, domesticated species created food ...
recognized that some jobs on a farm might still need to be performed, and specified what these were. Some agricultural tasks not otherwise permitted could be carried out if an expiation were made in advance ''( piaculum)'', usually the sacrifice of a puppy. Within the city of Rome, the
flamen A (plural ''flamens'' or ''flamines'') was a priest A priest is a religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacti ...
s and the priest known as the ''
Rex sacrorum In ancient Roman religion, the ''rex sacrorum'' ("king of the sacred", also sometimes ''rex sacrificulus'') was a senatorial priesthood reserved for patricians. Although in the historical era, the ''pontifex maximus The (Latin Latin (, ...
'' were not allowed even to see work done. On a practical level, those who "inadvertently" worked could pay a fine or offer up a ''piaculum'', usually a pig. Work considered vital either to the gods or preserving human life was excusable, according to some experts on religious law. Although Romans were required not to work, they were not required to take any religious action unless they were priests or had family rites ''( sacra gentilicia)'' to maintain.


List of festivals by month

Following is a month-by-month list of Roman festivals and games that had a fixed place on the calendar. For some, the date on which they were first established is recorded. A deity's festival often marked the anniversary ('' dies natalis,'' "birthday") of the founding of a temple, or a rededication after a major renovation. Festivals not named for deities are thought to be among the oldest on the calendar. Some religious observances were monthly. The first day of the month was the
KalendsThe calends or kalends ( la, kalendae) is the first day of every month in the Roman calendar. The English word ''calendar A calendar is a system of organizing days. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, mo ...
(or Calends, from which the English word "calendar" derives). Each Kalends was sacred to
Juno Juno commonly refers to: *Juno (mythology), the Roman goddess of marriage and queen of the gods *Juno (film), ''Juno'' (film), 2007 Juno may also refer to: Arts, entertainment and media Fictional characters *Juno, in the film ''Jenny, Juno'' *Jun ...
, and the '' Regina sacrorum'' ("Queen of the Rites," a public priestess) marked the day by presiding over a sacrifice to the goddess. Originally a pontiff and the ''
Rex sacrorum In ancient Roman religion, the ''rex sacrorum'' ("king of the sacred", also sometimes ''rex sacrificulus'') was a senatorial priesthood reserved for patricians. Although in the historical era, the ''pontifex maximus The (Latin Latin (, ...
'' reported the sighting of the
new moon In astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses ...

new moon
, and the pontiff announced whether the Nones occurred on the 5th or 7th of that month. On the Nones, announcements were made regarding events to take place that month; with the exception of the
PoplifugiaThe poplifugia or populifugia (Latin: ''the day of the people's flight''), was a festival of ancient Rome celebrated on July 5, according to Varro, in commemoration of the flight of the Romans, when the inhabitants of Ficulea (ancient Latin town), Fi ...
, no major festivals were held before the Nones, though other ceremonies, such as anniversaries of temple dedications, might be carried out. The Ides (usually the 13th, or in a few months the 15th) were sacred to
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the List of Solar System objects by size, largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, but ...
. On each Ides, a white lamb was led along the
Via Sacra The Via Sacra (, "''Sacred Street''") was the main street Main Street is a metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept. Etymology ...

Via Sacra
to the
Capitolium and the Servian Wall The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill ( ; it, Campidoglio ; la, Mons Capitolinus ), between the Roman Forum, Forum and the Campus Martius The Campus Martius (Latin for the "Field of Mars", Italian language, Italian ''Ca ...

Capitolium
for sacrifice to Jupiter. The list also includes other notable public religious events such as sacrifices and processions that were observed annually but are neither ''feriae'' nor ''dies natales.'' Unless otherwise noted, the calendar is that of H.H. Scullard, ''Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic''.


Ianuarius ''Ianuarius'', fully ''Mensis Ianuarius'' ("month of Janus In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well a ...

*1 (Kalends): From 153 BC onward,
consuls A consul is an official representative of the government of one Sovereign state, state in the territory of another, normally acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, and to facilitate trade and friendship between th ...
entered office on this date, accompanied by '' vota publica'' (public vows for the wellbeing of the republic and later of the emperor) and the taking of
auspices Augury is the practice from Religion in ancient Rome, ancient Roman religion of interpreting omens from the observed behavior of birds. When the individual, known as the augur, interpreted these signs, it is referred to as "taking the auspices". ...
. Festivals were also held for the imported cult of Aesculapius and for the obscure god
Vediovis Vejovis or Vejove ( lat, Vēiovis, italic=yes or ''Vēdiovis''; rare ''Vēive'' or ''Vēdius'') was a Roman god of Etruscan origins. Representation and worship Vejovis was portrayed as a young man, holding a bunch of arrows, pilum The ''pi ...
. * 3-5: most common dates for
Compitalia In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in s ...
, a movable feast ''(
feriae conceptivae Festivals in ancient Rome were a very important part of religion in ancient Rome, Roman religious life during both the Roman Republic, Republican and Roman Empire, Imperial eras, and one of the primary features of the Roman calendar. ''Feriae ...
)'' * 5 (Nones): ''Dies natalis'' (founding day) of the shrine of Vica Pota on the
Velian Hill The Velia — or Velian Hill or Velian Ridge — is a or stretching out from the middle of the north side of the towards the (itself a spur of the ) in . In later times, the Velia was called ''Summa Sacra Via'' ("Summit of the ") — since ...
*9:
Agonalia An Agonalia or Agonia was an obscure archaic religious observance celebrated in ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the coll ...
in honor of
Janus In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule ...
, after whom the month January is named; first of at least four festivals named Agonalia throughout the year *11 and 15:
Carmentalia Carmentalia was the two feast days (11 January and 15 January) of the Roman goddess Carmenta. She had her temple atop the Capitoline Hill and the Servian Wall The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill ( ; it, Campidoglio ; la, Mons Capitolinus ) ...
, with
Juturna In the myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that som ...
celebrated also on the 11th * 13 (Ides) * 24–26: most common dates for the
SementivaeSementivae, also known as Feriae Sementivae or Sementina dies (in the country called Paganalia), was a Roman festival of sowing. It was a type of '' feriae conceptivae'' r ''conceptae'' These free days were held every year, but not on certain or ...
, a ''feriae conceptivae'' of sowing, perhaps also known as the Paganalia as celebrated by the '' pagi'' * 27: ''Dies natalis'' of the
Temple of Castor and Pollux The Temple of Castor and Pollux ( it, Tempio dei Dioscuri) is an ancient temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christi ...

Temple of Castor and Pollux
, or perhaps marking its rededication (see also July 15); ''Ludi Castores'' ("Games of the Castors") celebrated at
Ostia
Ostia
during the Imperial period


Februarius ''Februarius'', fully ''Mensis Februarius'' ("month of Februa"), was the shortest month of the Roman calendar from which the Julian calendar, Julian and Gregorian calendar, Gregorian month of February derived. It was eventually placed second in ...

In the archaic Roman calendar, February was the last month of the year. The name derives from ''februa'', "the means of purification, expiatory offerings." It marked a turn of season, with February 5 the official first day of spring bringing the renewal of agricultural activities after winter. * 1 (Kalends): ''Dies natalis'' for the Temple of Juno Sospita, Mother and Queen; ''sacra'' at the Grove of
Alernus
Alernus
, near the
Tiber The Tiber (; la, Tiberis; it, Tevere ) is the third-longest river in Italy and the longest in Central Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains The Apennines or Apennine Mountains (; grc-gre, links=no, Ἀπέννινα ὄρη or Ἀπ ...
at the foot of the
Palatine Hill The Palatine Hill, (; la, Collis Palatium or Mons Palatinus; it, Palatino ) which is the centremost of the seven hills of Rome The seven hills of Rome ( la, Septem colles/montes Romae, it, Sette colli di Roma ) east of the river Tiber ...

Palatine Hill
* 5: ''Dies natalis'' for the
Temple of Concordia
Temple of Concordia
on the
Capitoline Hill The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill ( ; it, Campidoglio ; la, Mons Capitolinus ), between the Forum Forum (plural forums or fora) may refer to: Common uses * Forum (legal), designated space for public expression in the United States *For ...
* 13 (Ides): minor festival of
Faunus In Religion in ancient Rome, ancient Roman religion and Roman mythology, myth, Faunus was the horned deity, horned god of the forest, plains and fields; when he made cattle fertile he was called Inuus. He came to be equated in literature with ...
on the
Tiber Island The Tiber Island ( it, Isola Tiberina, Latin: ''Insula Tiberina'') is the only river island in the part of the Tiber which runs through Rome. Tiber Island is located in the southern bend of the Tiber. The island is boat-shaped, approximately lo ...

Tiber Island
* 13–22:
Parentalia In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a ...
, a commemoration of ancestors and the dead among families ** 13: Parentatio, with appeasement of the
Manes In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, i ...

Manes
beginning at the 6th hour and ceremonies performed by the chief Vestal; temples were closed, no fires burned on altars, marriages were forbidden, magistrates took off their insignia, until the 21st * 15:
Lupercalia Lupercalia was a pastoral festival of Ancient Rome observed annually on February 15 to purify the city, promoting health and fertility. Lupercalia was also known as ''dies Februatus'', after the purification instruments called ''februa'', the b ...
* 17: last day of the ''feriae conceptivae'' Fornacalia, the Oven Festival;
Quirinalia In Roman mythology and Roman religion, religion, Quirinus ( , ) is an early god of the Ancient Rome, Roman state. In Augustus, Augustan Rome, ''Quirinus'' was also an epithet of Janus, as ''Janus Quirinus''. Name Attestations The name of god Q ...
, in honour of
Quirinus In Roman mythology Roman mythology is the body of myths of ancient Rome as represented in the Latin literature, literature and Roman art, visual arts of the Romans. One of a wide variety of genres of Roman folklore, ''Roman mythology'' may a ...

Quirinus
*21:
Feralia Ferālia was an ancient Roman public festival Dumézil, Georges. ''Archaic Roman Religion''. pg 366. celebrating the Manes In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancien ...
, the only public observation of the Parentalia, marked F ''(dies festus)'' in some calendars and FP (a designation of uncertain meaning) in others, with dark rites aimed at the gods below ''(
di inferi The ''di inferi'' or ''dii inferi'' (Latin, "the gods below") were a shadowy collective of ancient Roman deities associated with death and the underworld. The epithet An epithet (, ) is a byname, or a descriptive term (word or phrase), accompa ...
)'' * 22:
Caristia In ancient Rome, the Caristia, also known as the Cara Cognatio, was an official but privately observed holiday on February 22, that celebrated love of family with banqueting and gifts. Families gathered to dine together and offer food and incense t ...
(or Cara Cognatio, "Dear Kindred"), a potluck meal provided by all the family, and shared in a spirit of love and forgiveness * 23: Terminalia, in honour of
Terminus Terminus may refer to: Places *Terminus, the unofficial original name of Atlanta, Georgia, United States **Terminus (office complex), an office complex in Atlanta *Lagos Terminus railway station, the main railway station of Lagos, Nigeria Art, en ...
* 24:
RegifugiumThe Regifugium ("Flight of the King") or Fugalia ("Festival of the Flight") was an annual religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worl ...
*27:
Equirria The Equirria (also as ''Ecurria'', from ''*equicurria'', "horse races") were two Roman festival, ancient Roman festivals of chariot racing, or perhaps horseback racing, held in honor of the god Mars (mythology), Mars, one February 27 and the other ...
, first of two horse-racing festivals to
Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury (planet), Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Mars (mythology), Roman god of war and is often referred to ...


Martius

In the old Roman calendar (until perhaps as late as 153 BC), the ''mensis Martius'' ("Mars' Month") was the first month of the year. It is one of the few months to be named for a god,
Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury (planet), Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Mars (mythology), Roman god of war and is often referred to ...
, whose festivals dominate the month. *1 (Kalends): the original New Year's Day when the sacred fire of Rome was renewed; the dancing armed priesthood of the
Salii In , the Salii ( , ) were the "leaping priests" (from the verb ''saliō'' "leap, jump") of supposed to have been introduced by King . They were twelve youths, dressed as archaic warriors: an embroidered , a , a short red cloak ('')'', a sword, ...
celebrated the ''Feriae Marti'' (holiday for Mars), which was also the ''dies natalis'' ("birthday") of Mars; also the
Matronalia In Religion in ancient Rome, ancient Roman religion, the Matronalia (or Matronales Feriae) was a Roman festivals, festival celebrating Juno Lucina (goddess), Lucina, the goddess of childbirth ("Juno (mythology), Juno who brings children into the li ...
, in honor of Juno Lucina, Mars' mother * 7: a second festival for Vediovis * 9: a ''
dies religiosus The vocabulary of ancient Roman religion was highly specialized. Its study affords important information about the religion, traditions and beliefs of the ancient Romans. This legacy is conspicuous in European cultural history in its influence on ...
'' when the Salii carried the sacred shields ''( ancilia)'' around the city again *14: the second
Equirria The Equirria (also as ''Ecurria'', from ''*equicurria'', "horse races") were two Roman festival, ancient Roman festivals of chariot racing, or perhaps horseback racing, held in honor of the god Mars (mythology), Mars, one February 27 and the other ...
, a ''Feriae Marti'' also called the Mamuralia or ''sacrum Mamurio'' * 15 (Ides): ''Feriae Iovi'', sacred to
Jove Jupiter ( la, Iūpiter or , from Proto-Italic The Proto-Italic language is the ancestor of the Italic languages The Italic languages form a branch of the Indo-European language family, whose earliest known members were spoken in the I ...
, and also the feast of the year goddess
Anna Perenna Anna Perenna was an old Roman deity of the circle or "ring" of the year, as the name (''per annum'') clearly indicates. Her festival fell on the Ides of March (March 15), which would have marked the first full moon in the year in the old lunar Rom ...
* 16–17: the procession of the
Argei The rituals of the Argei were archaic Religion in ancient Rome, religious observances in ancient Rome that took place on March 16 and March 17, and again on May 14 or May 15. By the time of Augustus, the meaning of these rituals had become obscure ...
* 17:
Liberalia The Liberalia (March 17) is the festival of Liber Pater and his consort Libera. T.P. Wiseman, ''Remus: a Roman myth'', Cambridge University Press, 1995, p.133. The Ancient Rome, Romans celebrated Liberalia with sacrifices, processions, ribald and ...
, in honour of
Liber In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rul ...

Liber
; also an
Agonalia An Agonalia or Agonia was an obscure archaic religious observance celebrated in ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the coll ...
for Mars * 19: Quinquatrus, later expanded into a five-day holiday as Quinquatria, a ''Feriae Marti'', but also a feast day for
Minerva Minerva (; ett, Menrva) is the Roman goddess Roman mythology is the body of of as represented in the and . One of a wide variety of genres of , ''Roman mythology'' may also refer to the modern study of these representations, and to ...

Minerva
, possibly because her temple on the
Aventine Hill The Aventine Hill (; la, Collis Aventinus; it, Aventino ) is one of the Seven Hills on which ancient Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the legend ...
was dedicated on this day * 23: Tubilustrium, purification of the trumpets. * 24: a day marked QRFC, when the
Comitia Calata The vocabulary of ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion or Belief#Religion, belief associated with a particular ethnic group. Ethnic re ...
met to sanction wills *31: anniversary of the Temple of Luna on the Aventine


Aprilis ''Aprilis'' or ''mensis Aprilis'' (April April is the fourth month of the year in the Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar A calendar is a system of organizing days. This is done by giving names to peri ...

A major ''feriae conceptivae'' in April was the Latin Festival. * 1 (Kalends):
Veneralia The Veneralia was an ancient Roman festival Festivals in ancient Rome were a very important part of Roman religious life during both the Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of gove ...
in honour of
Venus Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is named after the Venus (mythology), Roman goddess of love and beauty. As List of brightest natural objects in the sky, the brightest natural object in Earth's night sky after the Moon, Venus can ...
*4–10: Ludi Megalenses or Megalesia, in honor of the
Magna Mater
Magna Mater
or
Cybele Cybele ( ; Phrygian: ''Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya'' "Kubileya/Kubeleya Mother", perhaps "Mountain Mother"; Lydian Lydian may refer to: * Lydians, an ancient people of Anatolia * Lydian language, an ancient Anatolian language * Lydian alphabet * ...
, whose temple was dedicated April 10, 191 BC * 5: anniversary of the Temple of Fortuna Publica *12–19: Cerialia or Ludi Cereri, festival and games for
Ceres Ceres most commonly refers to: * Ceres (dwarf planet) Ceres (; minor-planet designation: 1 Ceres) is the smallest recognized dwarf planet, the closest dwarf planet to the Sun, and the List of notable asteroids, largest object in the main astero ...
, established by 202 BC * 13 (Ides): anniversary of the Temple of Jupiter Victor *15: Fordicidia, offering of a pregnant cow to Tellus ("Earth") *21:
Parilia upright=1.5, ''Festa di Pales, o L'estate'' (1783), a reimagining of the Festival of Pales by Joseph-Benoît Suvée The Parilia is an Roman festival, ancient Roman festival of rural character performed annually on 21 April, aimed at cleansing bot ...
, rustic festival in honour of
Pales In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in ...
, and the ''dies natalis'' of Rome *23: the first of two wine festivals (
Vinalia The Vinalia were Roman festivals of the wine harvest, wine vintage File:The Vintagers after a Miniature of the Dialogues de Saint Gregoire Thirteenth Century Manuscript of the Royal Library of Brussels.png, ''The Vintagers'', after a miniature o ...
), the ''Vinalia Priora'' for the previous year's wine, held originally for Jupiter and later Venus *25:
Robigalia The Robigalia was a Roman festivals, festival in Religion in ancient Rome, ancient Roman religion held April 25, named for the god Robigus. Its main ritual was a dog sacrifice to protect wheat diseases, grain fields from disease. Games (''ludi'') i ...
, an agricultural festival involving dog sacrifice *27 (28 in the
Julian calendar The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century B ...
) to May 1: Ludi Florales in honour of
Flora Flora is all the plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, ca ...
, extended to May 3 under the Empire


Maius ''Maius'' or ''mensis Maius'' (May May is the fifth month of the year in the Julian calendar, Julian and Gregorian calendars and the third of seven months to have a length of 31 days. May is a month of Spring (season), spring in the Northern ...

The ''feriae conceptivae'' of this month was the
Ambarvalia upright=1, Ambarvalia sacrifice relief. Ambarvalia was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome * ...
. *1 (Kalends): Games of Flora continue; sacrifice to
Maia Maia (; Ancient Greek: Μαῖα; la, Maia), in ancient Greek religion, is one of the Pleiades (Greek mythology), Pleiades and the mother of Hermes by Zeus. Maia is the daughter of Atlas (mythology), Atlas and Pleione (mythology), Pleione the ...
; anniversary of the Temple of Bona Dea on the Aventine; rites for the
Lares Praestites
Lares Praestites
, tutelaries of the city of Rome * 3: in the Imperial period, a last celebration for Flora, or the anniversary of one of her temples *9, 11, 13: Lemuria, a festival of the dead with both public and household rites, possibly with a sacrifice to
Mania Mania, also known as manic syndrome, is a mental Mental may refer to: * of or relating to the mind Films * Mental (2012 film), ''Mental'' (2012 film), an Australian comedy-drama * Mental (2016 film), ''Mental'' (2016 film), a Bangladeshi roman ...
on the 11th * 14: anniversary of the Temple of Mars Invictus (Mars the Unconquered); a second procession of the
Argei The rituals of the Argei were archaic Religion in ancient Rome, religious observances in ancient Rome that took place on March 16 and March 17, and again on May 14 or May 15. By the time of Augustus, the meaning of these rituals had become obscure ...
*15 (Ides):
Mercuralia Mercuralia is a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to '' ...
, in honor of
Mercury Mercury usually refers to: * Mercury (planet) Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the Sun's planets. It is named after the Roman g ...
; ''Feriae'' of Jove *21: one of four
Agonalia An Agonalia or Agonia was an obscure archaic religious observance celebrated in ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the coll ...
, probably a third festival for Vediovis *23: a second Tubilustrium; ''Feriae'' for Volcanus (Vulcan) * 24: QRCF, following Tubilustrium as in March * 25: anniversary of the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia


Iunius

Scullard places the Taurian Games on June 25–26, but other scholars doubt these ''ludi'' had a fixed date or recurred on a regular basis. * 1 (Kalends): anniversaries of the Temple of Juno Moneta; of the Temple of Mars on the ''clivus'' (slope, street) outside the
Porta Capena Porta Capena was a gate in the Servian Wall The Servian Wall ( la, Murus Servii Tullii; it, Mura Serviane) was an ancient Roman defensive barrier constructed around the city of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date ...
; and possibly of the Temple of the Tempestates (storm goddesses); also a festival of the complex goddess Cardea, Cardea or Carna *3: anniversary of the Temple of Bellona (goddess), Bellona * 4: anniversary of the restoration of the Temple of Hercules in ancient Rome, Hercules Custos * 5: anniversary of the Temple of Dius Fidius * 7: Ludi Piscatorii, "Fishermen's Games" *7–15: Vestalia, in honour of Vesta (mythology), Vesta; June 9 was a ''dies religiosus'' to her * 8: anniversary of the Temple of Mens * 11: Matralia in honour of Mater Matuta; also the anniversary of the Temple of Fortuna in the Forum Boarium * 13 (Ides): ''Feriae'' of Jove * 13–15: ''Quinquatrus minusculae'', the lesser Quinquatrus celebrated by ''tibicines'', flute-players in their role as accompanists to religious ceremonies *19: a commemoration involving the Temple of Minerva on the Aventine, which had its anniversary March 19 *20: anniversary of the Temple of Summanus * 24: festival of Fors Fortuna, which "seems to have been a rowdy affair" * 27: poorly attested observance in honour of the Lares; anniversary of the Temple of Jupiter Stator * 29: anniversary of the Temple of Hercules in ancient Rome, Hercules Musarum, Hercules of the Muses


Quintilis, Quintilis (Quinctilis)

Until renamed for Julius Caesar, this month was called Quinctilis or Quintilis, originally the fifth month ''(quint-)'' when the year began in March. From this point in the calendar forward, the months had numerical designations. * 1 (Kalends): a scarcely attested anniversary of a temple to Juno Felicitas *5:
PoplifugiaThe poplifugia or populifugia (Latin: ''the day of the people's flight''), was a festival of ancient Rome celebrated on July 5, according to Varro, in commemoration of the flight of the Romans, when the inhabitants of Ficulea (ancient Latin town), Fi ...
*6–13:
Ludi ApollinaresThe ''Ludi Apollinares'' were solemn games (''ludi ''Ludi'' (Latin plural) were public games held for the benefit and entertainment of the SPQR, Roman people (''populus Romanus''). ''Ludi'' were held in conjunction with, or sometimes as the major f ...
, games in honour of Apollo, first held in 212 BC as a one-day event (July 13) and established as annual in 208 BC. * 6: anniversary of the Temple of Fortuna Muliebris * 7 (Nones): Caprotinia, Nonae Caprotinae; ''Ancillarum Feriae'' (Festival of the Serving Women); sacrifice to Consus by unspecified public priests ''(sacerdotes publici)''; also a minor festival to the two
Pales In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in ...
* 8: Vitulatio * 14–19: a series of markets or fairs ''(#Mercatus, mercatus)'' following the Ludi Apollinares; not religious holidays * 15 (Ides): ''Transvectio equitum,'' a procession of cavalry * 17: anniversary of the Temple of Honos and Virtus; sacrifice to Victoria (mythology), Victory *18: a ''dies ater'' ("black day," meaning a day of ill omen) marking the defeat of the Romans by the Gauls at the Battle of the Allia in 390 BC, leading to the sack of Rome by the Gauls *19, 21: Lucaria * 20–30: Ludi Victoriae Caesaris, "Games of the Victorious Caesar", held annually from 45 BC * 22: anniversary of the Temple of Concordia at the foot of the Capitol *23: Neptunalia held in honour of Neptune (mythology), Neptune *25: Furrinalia, ''feriae publicae'' in honour of Furrina *30: anniversary of the Temple of the Fortune of This Day ''(Fortunae Huiusque Diei)''


Sextilis, Augustus (Sextilis)

Until renamed for Augustus Caesar, this month was called Sextilis, originally the sixth month (sext-) when the year began in March. * 1 (Kalends): anniversary of the Temple of Spes (Hope) in the Forum Holitorium, with commemorations also for the "two Victories" on the Palatine * 3: ''Supplicia canum'' ("punishment of the dogs") an unusual dog sacrifice and procession at the temples of Iuventas ("Youth") and Summanus, connected to the Gallic siege * 5: public sacrifice ''(sacrificium publicum)'' at the Temple of Salus on the Quirinal * 9: public sacrifice to Sol Indiges * 12: sacrifice of a heifer to Hercules Invictus, with a libation from the ''skyphos'' of Hercules * 13 (Ides): festival of Diana on the Aventine (Nemoralia), with slaves given the day off to attend; other deities honored at their temples include Vortumnus, Fortuna Equestris, Hercules Victor (or Invictus at the Porta Trigemina), Castor and Pollux, the Camenae, and Flora *17: Portunalia in honour of Portunus (mythology), Portunus; anniversary of the Temple of Janus *19: Vinalia Rustica, originally in honour of Jupiter, but later
Venus Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is named after the Venus (mythology), Roman goddess of love and beauty. As List of brightest natural objects in the sky, the brightest natural object in Earth's night sky after the Moon, Venus can ...
*21: Consualia, with a sacrifice on the Aventine *23: Vulcanalia or ''Feriae Volcano'' in honour of Vulcan (mythology), Vulcan, along with sacrifices to Maia, the Nymphs ''in campo'' ("in the field", perhaps the Campus Martius), Ops Opifera, and a Hora *24: sacrifices to Luna on the Graecostasis; and the first of three days when the mysterious ritual pit called the ''Mundus cerialis, mundus'' was opened *25: Opiconsivia or ''Feriae Opi'' in honour of Ops Consivae at the Regia *27: Volturnalia, when the flamines minores, Flamen Volturnalis made a sacrifice to Volturnus *28: Games at the Circus Maximus ''(ludi circenses, circenses)'' for Sol and Luna


September (Roman month), September

*1 (Kalends): ceremonies for Jupiter Tonans ("the Thunderer") on the Capitolium, and Juno Regina on the Aventine * 5: anniversary of one of the temples to Jupiter Stator * 5–19, Ludi Romani or Ludi Magni, "the oldest and most famous" of the ''ludi'' * 13 (Ides): anniversary of the Temple to Jupiter Optimus Maximus; an Epulum Jovis, Epulum Iovis; an ''epulum'' to the Capitoline Triad * 14: ''Equorum probatio'' ("Approval of the Horses"), a cavalry parade of the Imperial period * 20–23: days set aside for markets and fairs ''(#Mercatus, mercatus)'' immediately following the Ludi Romani * 23: anniversary of the rededication of the Temple of Apollo in the Campus Martius; Latona was also honored *26: anniversary of the Temple of Venus Genetrix vowed by Julius Caesar


October (Roman month), October

* 1 (Kalends): ceremonies for Fides (goddess), Fides and the Sororium Tigillum, Tigillum Sororium * 3–12: Ludi Augustales, established 14 AD after the death of
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
, based on the Augustalia *4: ''Ieiunium Cereris'', a day of fasting in honour of Ceres (Roman mythology), Ceres, instituted in 191 BC as a wikt:quinquennial, quinquennial observance, made annual by
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
* 5: second of the three days when the ''Mundus cerialis, mundus'' was opened * 6: ''dies ater'' ("black day") to mark the anniversary of the battle of Arausio (105 BC) * 7 (Nones): rites for Jupiter Fulgur (Jupiter of daytime lightning) and Juno Curitis * 9: rites at shrines for the Genius Publicus, Fausta Felicitas, and Venus Victrix on the Capitolium * 10: ceremonies to mark a rededication of the Temple of Juno Moneta * 11: Meditrinalia * 12: Augustalia, celebrated from 14 AD in honour of the divinized
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
, established in 19 BC with a new altar and sacrifice to Fortuna Redux * 13: Fontinalia in honour of Fontus, Fons * 14: ceremonies to mark a restoration of the Temple of the Penates, Penates Dei on the
Velian Hill The Velia — or Velian Hill or Velian Ridge — is a or stretching out from the middle of the north side of the towards the (itself a spur of the ) in . In later times, the Velia was called ''Summa Sacra Via'' ("Summit of the ") — since ...
*15 (Ides): October Horse sacrifice to
Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury (planet), Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Mars (mythology), Roman god of war and is often referred to ...
in the Campus Martius; also ''Feriae'' of Jupiter *19: Armilustrium, a ''dies religiosus'' in honour of Mars * 26 to November 1: Ludi Victoriae Sullanae, "Victory Games of Sulla", established as an annual event in 81 BC


November (Roman month), November

*1 (Kalends): ''Ludi circenses'' to close the Sullan Victory Games *4–17: Ludi Plebeii, ''Ludi Plebeii'' (Plebeian Games) * 8: third of the three days when the ''mundus'' ritual pit was opened *13 (Ides): Epulum Jovis; also ceremonies for Feronia (mythology), Feronia and Fortuna Primigeniae * 14: a second ''Equorum probatio'' (cavalry parade), as on July 15 * 18–20: markets and fairs ''(#Mercatus, mercatus)''


December (Roman month), December

* 3: Bona Dea rites for women only *5 (Nones): a country festival for
Faunus In Religion in ancient Rome, ancient Roman religion and Roman mythology, myth, Faunus was the horned deity, horned god of the forest, plains and fields; when he made cattle fertile he was called Inuus. He came to be equated in literature with ...
held by the '' pagi'' * 8: festival for Tiberinus Pater and Gaia *11:
Agonalia An Agonalia or Agonia was an obscure archaic religious observance celebrated in ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the coll ...
for Indiges; also the (probably unrelated) Septimontium * 12: ceremonies at the Temple of Consus on the Aventine * 13 (Ides): ''dies natalis'' of the Temple of Tellus, and associated lectisternium for Ceres *15: Consualia or ''Feriae'' for Consus, the second of the year *17–23: Saturnalia in honour of Saturn (mythology), Saturn, with the public ritual on the 17th *18 Eponalia in honor of Epona *19: Opalia in honor of Ops *21: Divalia in honor of Angerona; Hercules and Ceres also received a sacrifice * 22: anniversary of the Temple of the Lares Permarini in the Porticus Minucia *23: Larentalia; commemorations for the temples of Diana and Juno Regina in the Circus Flaminius, and for the Tempestates; Sigillaria (ancient Rome), Sigillaria, the last day of the Saturnalia, devoted to gift-giving *25: Dies Natalis Solis Invicti ("Birthday of the Unconquered Sun"); Brumalia (both Imperial)


''Feriae conceptivae''

The following "moveable feasts" are listed roughly in chronological order. *
Compitalia In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in s ...
, held sometime between December 17 (the Saturnalia) and January 5; in the later Empire, they were regularly held January 3–5, but Macrobius (5th century AD) still categorized them as ''conceptivae''. *
SementivaeSementivae, also known as Feriae Sementivae or Sementina dies (in the country called Paganalia), was a Roman festival of sowing. It was a type of '' feriae conceptivae'' r ''conceptae'' These free days were held every year, but not on certain or ...
, a festival of sowing honoring Tellus and Ceres, placed on January 24–26 by Ovid, who regards these ''feriae'' as the same as Paganalia; Varro may indicate that the two were separate festivals. * Fornacalia, a mid-February baking festival celebrated by the ''curiae'', the 30 archaic divisions of the Roman people; the date was announced by the ''curio maximus'' and set for each ''curia'' individually, with a general Fornacalia on February 17 for those who had missed their own or who were uncertain to which ''curia'' they belonged. * Amburbium, a ceremony to purify the city ''(urbs)'' as a whole, perhaps held sometime in February. * Feriae Latinae (Latin Festival), a major and very old ''conceptivae'' in April. *
Ambarvalia upright=1, Ambarvalia sacrifice relief. Ambarvalia was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome * ...
, purification of the fields in May. The Rosalia (festival), Rosalia or "Festival of Roses" also had no fixed date, but was technically not one of the ''feriae conceptivae'' with a date announced by public priests based on archaic practice.


''Feriae imperativae''

Festivals were also held in ancient Rome in response to particular events, or for a particular purpose such as to propitiate or show gratitude toward the gods. For example, Livy reports that following the Roman destruction of Alba Longa in the 7th century BC, and the removal of the Alban populace to Rome, it was reported to have rained stones on the Alban Hills, Mons Albanus. A Roman deputation was sent to investigate the report, and a further shower of stones was witnessed. The Romans took this to be a sign of the displeasure of the Alban gods, the worship of whom had been abandoned with the evacuation of Alba Longa. Livy goes on to say that the Romans instituted a public festival of nine days, at the instigation either of a 'heavenly voice' heard on the Mons Albanus, or of the haruspex, haruspices. Livy also says that it became the longstanding practice in Rome that whenever a shower of stones was reported, a festival of nine days would be ordered in response. Another irregular festival of note is the Secular Games. Over the course of several days there were sacrifices, entertainers, and games hosted by the state, attempting to be the greatest display anyone living had ever seen. These games were intended to be held every 100 years with the purpose of it occurring only once in any individuals lifetime. At one point two cycles of the Secular Games were being held simultaneously, leading there to be people who would in fact witness it twice in their life.


''Mercatus''

The noun (plural ) means "commerce" or "the market" generally, but it also refers to fairs or markets held immediately after certain .
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
said that Numa Pompilius, the semi-legendary second king of Rome, established in conjunction with religious festivals to facilitate trade, since people had already gathered in great numbers. In early times, these may have played a role in wholesale trade, but as commerce in Rome became more sophisticated, by the late Republic they seem to have become retail fairs specialized for the holiday market. The Sigillaria (ancient Rome), Sigillaria attached to the Saturnalia may have been a in this sense. Surviving record , July 14–19; , September 20–23; and , November 18–20. Others may have existed. The English word "fair" derives from Latin .


"Roman holidays" as trope

By the outset of the nineteenth century and particularly in response to the carnage of the latter years of the French revolution, the term Roman holiday had taken on sinister aspects, implying an event that occasions enjoyment or profit at the expense, or derived from the suffering, of others, as in this passage from ''Childe Harold's Pilgrimage'' (1812–18) by George Gordon, Lord Byron:
There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother—he their sire,
Butchered to make a Roman holiday.""Cruelty". The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase, Saying, and Quotation, 2nd edition. Susan Ratcliffe, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002,109-110.
More benignly, the phrase was used as the title of a romantic movie set in Rome, ''Roman Holiday.''


See also

* Fasti


References


Further reading

* Kaczor, Idaliana (2018). “Characteristics of Roman Female Deities”. In: ''Studia Ceranea: Journal of the Waldemar Ceran Research Centre for the History and Culture of the Mediterranean Area and South-East Europe'' 8 (December): 23–41. https://doi.org/10.18778/2084-140X.08.02. {{DEFAULTSORT:Roman Festivals Ancient Roman festivals,