Friday, February 22, 2008

Feast of Concordia and the Chair of St Peter

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
Feast of Concordia, known as Caristia or Cara Cognatio, Roman Empire

Following the solemnity of the Parentalia (February 13 - 21) came the Caristia. From the Latin word, cara ('dear'), this was the feast of favour or goodwill. People reconciled their differences; this is the counterpart of yesterday's Feralia, which accorded similar rites to the dead rather than the living. Families and friends dined together and buried the hatchet.

The Roman poet, Ovid, wrote of this festival,

Sweet it is, no doubt, to recall our thoughts to the living after they have dwelt upon the grave and on the dear ones departed from us; sweet, too, after so many departed, to look upon those of our blood who are left, and to count kin with them.
Ovid, Fasti

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Antioch
To replace the pagan festivals of the Concordia, the Roman Catholic Church made this day the feast of St Peter's Chair at Antioch. (The feast of St Peter's Chair in the Vatican is held on January 18.) However, as late as the Christian church's Council of Tours in 567, it was mentioned that Christians were leaving out food for the dead on this feast day – a hangover from the Feast of the Feralia.

In Europe, some plants that blossom about now are named after St Peter, such as England's cowslip (sometimes called 'Peterwort'), and daffodils in Wales which may be called called 'Peter's leeks'.

Ice figures in many legends about St Peter's Chair Day. German tradition has it that if water is frozen on this day it won't melt for a fortnight ...

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