Friday, April 1, 2011


This is post # 100!

I thought I'd celebrate a little bit. All day long I've felt like I'm standing in the middle of an insanely messy room with no idea how to start organizing. I suppose Mercury isn't quite up to speed in His current retrograde, hopefully it will pass tomorrow and I will be able to take a look at all of the old business with fresh eyes and Mars willing, the motivation to get it done.

Realizing that this is post #100 on the blog has helped me to organize my thoughts a bit. It was a pretty hectic evening and I'm just unwinding now. So let's talk about Italian celebrations, modern and ancient.

Cent'anni literally means 100 years, but is often translated as "May you live for 100 years" or at weddings, "May you have 100 years together."

Confetti: No, not the bits of paper, the sugared almonds. They go back to Ancient Rome and were given out for all manner of celebrations including births and birthdays as well as weddings as bomboniera, aka favors. The traditional number to give to each guest is 5:

Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat
To remind us that life is both bitter and sweet.
Five wishes for the new husband and wife --
Health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life!
More wedding traditions: The Groom carries a piece of iron for good luck and to guard against bad luck. No weddings in May or August. The feast of the Manes is in May, and Nemoralia is in August.The night before the wedding, the bride-to-be wears green for prosperity.

Speaking of weddings, and presumably, love, Tomorrow, April 1st, is the Veneralia. Actually, the kalends of April, or first crescent of the new moon, was the date in the ancient calendar. So why is April the month of Venus? I personally side with the theory that the Etruscan version of her name, Aprodita, is the origin. Now the question is did the Etruscans get it from the Greeks, or did the Greeks get their Aphrodite from the Etruscans? Or is it all just from the Sumerian anyway? lol

The Veneralia, on the first day of Venus’ month, honors Venus Verticordia (Changer of Hearts) and Her companion Fortuna Virilis (Bold Fortune). In ancient times all the women, married and unmarried, went to the men's baths, as today they might go to swimming pools. Upon arriving they offer incense to Fortuna Virilis and pray that the men will not see any blemishes the women might have. They make a libation and drink the potion Venus drank on Her wedding night: pounded poppy with milk and honey. An ancient commentary (probably by Verrius) says they go to the baths to view the men's virile members. The women, crowned with myrtle wreaths, bathe and pray that Venus will bring them concord and a modest life. Ovid says, “beauty and fortune and good fame are in Her keeping.”

In addition, the women remove the jewelry and other ornaments from the statues of Venus and Fortuna so that they can be washed, after which they are redecorated and adorned with roses (Venus’s flower). [OF IV.133-64; SFR 96-7]

Poppy with milk and honey... Very interesting. Venus was wearing a myrtle wreath when Paris gave her the golden apple. That was her plant while the Rose is her flower. More about the cult of Venus in Cyprus another time!

Tonight I'll leave you with an Italian proverb, often used as a wedding toast, which in this time of the internet is especially true:

“It is around the table that friends understand best the warmth of being together.”

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