The Feriae sementivae

Culture: the Feriae sementivae

Also in January Ceres was celebrated with fests in her honor, the Feriae sementivae

The so-called Feriae sementivae were the second movable feast of January and also their origin, like the name suggests, was of peasant origin and then tied to the world of agriculture. As Professor Staccioli tells us (ref. Archeo, 2014) the date of Feriae was fixed by the Popes from time to time. This news is confirmed by the poet Ovid (Fasti , I, 657 et seq.), who writes that while it was uncertain the day of the fest, was instead confirmed the season, although he then indicates how possible dates January 22 or 26. The fest was dedicated to the goddesses Ceres and Tellus (the Earth). Even Ovid tells us that Ceres was the goddess who “gave origin to the crops ” while Tellus “offered them the place”. During the Feriae it was invoked the protection of the two deities against any damage caused by bad weather coming to seed to sprout. In fact, being a holiday in late January, was particularly feared aggression by the frost (“… the new grass should not be burned from the icy snow …”), but also of animals and insects (“flocks of birds .. should not not devastate the fields …. and you too, ants, save grains buried. After the harvest, there will be an abundance of prey … “). During the rituals were offered to Ceres and Tellus foods, such as spelled buns, and a pregnant sow (an animal sacred to Demeter also). Small clay discs (oscilla) were then hung on the trees, decorated with various figures. These amulets were designed to ward off evil spirits and negative influences.

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