January 2nd – Compitalia

Hi tree-huggers!

I’ve recently been reading up on Roman festivals, and in doing so, I have discovered that they had, to coin a phrase, sh*t loads! Talk about any excuse for a knee’s up!

So, I’ll be posting about the most notable festivals, some of which you may have heard of, and some lesser known ones.

The first festival of the year was celebrated on January 2nd (Ianuarius) and was known as Compitalia. It was celebrated once a year in honour of the Lares Compitales, or guardian deities of the household crossroads. Basically, a Lar was a guardian deity associated with protection of a certain area, whether it be in a house, street, farm, or at the crossroads located in a village.

All traditional Roman households would own at least one Lares figure, which would be housed within a shrine alongside any other favoured deities of the family. These household shrines would later come to be known as Lararia.

Each Roman district had its own communal Lares, housed in a permanent shrine at a central crossroads of the district. These Lares Compitalicii were celebrated at the Compitalia festival. In the “solemn and sumptuous” rites of Compitalia, a pig was led in celebratory procession through the streets of the vicus then sacrificed to the Lares at their Compitalia shrine. Cult offerings to these Lares were much the same as those to domestic Lares; and gatherers would include the contribution of a honey-cake from each household.

In keeping with the idea that houses, villages and towns are protected by dedicated deities, why not leave out a small libation in thanks to your own house spirits? Milk and cookies is often a firm favourite! Though, you could leave something non-edible, such as crystals or flowers.

BB   )O(


The Tree-hugging Dirt Worshipper

Tree Hugger

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 38 hits

Top Clicks

  • None