God of the Month: Di Parentes and Di Manes

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February is the month for honoring the Ancestors and the “Good Dead.” Starting February 13th and ending the 22nd are the three major festivals –The Parentalia, Feralia, and Caristia. People gather at the tombs of their families and make offerings of spelt cakes and wine. Ovid, in Fasti, lists more offerings – garlands, salt, bread softened with wine, and violets. The Feralia included offerings to Di Inferi (The Gods of the Earth such as Dis Pater). The Caristia is the family reunion when quarrels are ended and family ties are renewed.

Since my family is buried and various places, I have an Ancestor alter for Them. For the Parentalia and Feralia, I lay out offerings of wine and salt. For the Caristia, I hold a dumb supper and have our small family reaffirm our love for each other.

“Lares, care for our house that you established.” – Ennius, Annales I. 141

“Divine Penates of our Ancestors, to You, I commend the good fortune of my parents, and to you, Spiritual Father of our family that You safeguard them well.” – Plautus, Mercator 834-5.

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