Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Quinquatria

300px-Head_of_MinervaIn ancient Roman religion, the Quinquatria or Quinquatrus was a festival sacred to Minerva, celebrated on the 19 March. Minerva was the ancient Roman goddess of wisdom and war. Her areas of patronage included crafts, poetry, medicine, and music. Like many of the figures of the Roman pantheon, some of Minerva's characteristics were adapted from the Greek tradition. Eventually, she became equated with Athena.

The Romans celebrated a festival for Minerva on the day of Quinquatria. This festival took place from March 19 to March 23, the fifth day after the Ides of March, widely accepted as a holiday for artisans. As the patron of the arts, Minerva's domain along with Mars included warfare, which was seen as an art-form itself. The festival was celebrated in commemoration of the birthday of Minerva and women often consulted fortune-tellers and diviners upon this day. Worship of Minerva spread along the Roman empire, as is the case in Britain, where she was conflated with the local wisdom goddess Sulis.

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