Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Volturnalia

Volturnalia was the roman festival, which was celebrated on August 27th every year. This festival was dedicated to Volturnus, who was a Roman god of water, rivers and fountains. His name was apparently derived from a local Samnite cult. The Volturno river in the area Campania, in southern Italy, was named in his honour. The God Volturnus was honored with feasting, drinking of wine and playing standard roman games. The first floating wind turbine in North America was named after him.

Little is known about Volturnus, although scholars have attempted to reconstruct his myth and role in the cultus deorum. Volturnus is known to have been an agricultural God, and surviving fragments show he was specifically a river God. 

Like other ancient Gods, his cult was overshadowed and obscured by a religious reformation, probably in the 4th century BCE. By the time of Varro (116 BCE - 27 BCE), a scholar who collected the surviving materials, there were only traces left of Rome's earliest religion. He reported the survival of a Flamen Volturnalis, but found the God to be "obscure".  

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