Feast Of Fools  

Posted by Stella Clark

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QUIRINA'LIA - was the religious holiday of Quirinus, the warlike, divine incarnation of Romulus, The festival was celebrated on the 17th of February, on which day Romulus ( Quirinus ) was said to have been carried up to heaven. It is also known as the Feast of Fools and was a day on which public sacrifice ( feria publica ) was offered and on which no assemblies could meet.

In Roman mythology, Quirinus was a mysterious god.

His name derives from"-"men together"; as such, he embodied the military and economic strength of the Roman populus collectively. He also watched over the "senate house" and tribal assembly", the names of which are cognate with his own. His name has also been connected with the Sabine word for spear "and to the Sabine town "Its inhabitants were called Quirites, a name that was transfered to the community of Sabines and Romans joined under Romulus; the Romans referred to themselves as "their civil entity and as "in their political and military capacity.

Quirinus was originally a Sabine god of storms and thunder. Sabines had a settlement near the future site of Rome, and they called one of their sites, in which they had erected an altar, the ("Quirinal Hill") after Quirinus; this area was later included among the Seven hills of Rome, and Quirinus became one of the most important gods of the state, as associated with Romulus.

Quirinus' wife was Hora. In art, he was portrayed as a bearded man with religious and military clothing. He was sometimes associated with the myrtle plant.

In the legend, Romulus was taken bodily up to heaven in a cloud and appeared afterward to Julius Proculus with the injunction that the Quirites should not mourn him but rather worship the new god Quirinus and cultivate their ancestral art of war. Quirinus was originally part of the archaic Roman triad, along with Jupiter and Mars. He was concerned with promoting the general welfare of the Roman people. The triad retained this focus even after Quirinus was replaced as its third member by the goddess Minerva, circa 200 BCE.

This was also a special day of devotion to those who lived on the Quirinal Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome, where the Sabine settlement was found. Also on this hill is the oldest shrine of Jupiter, the large gardens of Julius Caesar, Constantine's famous baths, a palace and garden for the Roman Catholic popes; it is currently the official residence and offices of the President of the Italian Republic.

This day was also known as the Feast of Fools ( Stultorum Festa ) and often coincided with the Festival of Fornax (the"), a goddess to whom they prayed to keep the oven heat right for the grain. This feast is thought to mark the transition of the Romans from warriors to farmer, learning through trial and error to properly grow, prepare and cook grain.

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