Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Roman Festival of Hilaria, in honour of Cybele

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
Today ends the festival of Cybele (pictured), the Anatolian mother goddess of mountains and fertility, and a life-death-rebirth deity, who was adopted by the Romans as their own Mother of the Gods.

In 204, Cybele’s sacred black statue, which was carved from a meteorite from Pessinus in Anatolia (in modern Turkey), was shipped to Rome, where it arrived on April 4. This statue and the cultus that surrounded it became very important parts of the Roman religion.

The Hilaria was a Roman festival of the Vernal Equinox. Today was the final day, the lavatio, on which the Romans performed the ceremonial rites of washing – the tradition that some cultures know today as Spring cleaning. Also today was the annual procession in honour of the Mother of the Gods, and the carriage in which her image was carried was washed in the waters of the Almo, a Roman stream ...

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