Gods of the Month: March

The month of March is named for Mars, the Roman God of War. Besides war, Mars also protected the land and crops. Spring brought both preparations for planting and for war. The Feriae Marti (the Festival of Mars), lasts for nearly the entire month and is similar to the Carnival Season and Mardi Gras.

Juno Lucina

On March 1, the Matronalia is held in honor of mothers. Husbands and daughters give presents to mothers. Juno Lucina, the aspect of Juno who governs over women and childbirth, receives prayers for safe childbirth and fertility.

Anna Perenna

On March 15th (Ides), Traditional New Year is celebrated. Anna Perenna, the Goddess of the Returning Year, oversees the celebrations. People would picnic and drink cups of wine in her honor, and offer prayers for a prosperous year.

Liber Pater and Libera

On March 17, the Liberalia is held. Wearing ivy wreaths, several old women offer cakes made from oil and honey (libia) to Liber Pater. Then a large phallus is taken around to encourage the plants to grow and for a good harvest. Liber Pater and Libera are the Gods of the Male and Female Seeds, respectively.

Mars

Starting the 1st of the March and on the 9th, and 24th, the Salii (Leaping Priests of Mars) danced through the streets of Rome singing hymns, and later held feasts in honor of Mars. Horse races were held, sacrifices made, and trumpets purified. Mamurius Venturius, the Old Man of March, was driven out of Rome to take disease and sickness with Him. (Not be confused with the blacksmith who created copies of the original shields of Mars.)

Gods of Babylon

At the new moon after the equinox, the Akitu, the Babylonian New Year Festival is held for twelve days. It starts with purifications and then the Enuma Elish (the Babylonian Creation Epic) is read. When Marduk, the Chief God of Babylon goes missing, the people search for Him. During this time, the statues of Gods are carried to the main temple. Nabu, the Scribe of the Gods and Marduk’s Minister, finds and frees Marduk from the Underworld. Then Marduk is ren-enthroned as the Ruler of the Gods. Divination is done for the coming year. The Festival ends in celebrations and the return of the Gods to their shrines.

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