Roman 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.

Traditionally, the New Year for Romans began in March, the first month of the original calendar. After the reforms of Numa Pompilis and Julius Caesar, it was still celebrated as a second New Year’s Day. The spring equinox was still the beginning of the planting and war seasons.

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. God of the Month: Juno Lucina

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. God of the Month: Anna Perenna

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. Gods of the Month: Liber Pater and Libera

Minerva
From March 19 to 24, the Quinquatrus is held to honor Minerva, the Goddess of the Arts and War. Since the first day is sacred to Her, no blood is shed on that day. The Quinquatrus is celebrated by artisans and students. Traditional Roman festivities included martial arts contests.

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 taking disease and sickness with Him. Gods of the Month: Mars

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