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Brumalia

 

Brumalia

Brumalia (Latin: Brumalia, , "winter festivals") was an ancient Roman, winter solstice festival honouring Saturn/Cronus and Ceres/Demeter, and Bacchus in some cases. By the Byzantine era, celebrations commenced on 24 November and lasted for a month, until Saturnalia and the "Waxing of the Light". The festival included night-time feasting, drinking, and merriment. During this time, prophetic indications were taken as prospects for the remainder of the winter. The festival was celebrated as late as the 6th century, until emperor Justinian's repression of paganism.[1][2][3]

Etymology

The name of Brumalia comes from brvma, , "Winter solstice", "Winter cold"; a shortening of *brevima, , presumed obsolete superlative form of brevis, later brevissima ("smallest", "shallowest", "briefest").

Overview

Roman life, during classical antiquity, centred on the military, agriculture, and hunting. The short, cold days of winter would halt most forms of work. Brumalia was a festival celebrated during this dark, interludal period. It was chthonic in character and associated with crops, of which seeds are sown in the ground before sprouting.[2]

Farmers would sacrifice pigs to Saturn and Ceres. Vine-growers would sacrifice goats in honor of Bacchus—for the goat is an enemy of the vine; and they would skin them, fill the skin-bags with air and jump on them. And, civic officials would bring offerings of firstfruits (including wine, olive oil, grain, and honey) to the priests of Ceres.[2]

Although Brumalia was still celebrated as late as the 6th century, it was uncommon and celebrants were ostracised by the Christian church. However, some practices did persist as November and December time customs.[2]

In later

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