This month: March

March got its name from Mars. Appropriately, the old Roman New Year occurred during the month named after the divine father of Romulus and Remus, so the god was lengthily celebrated in March. Since I’m not nor have ever been a soldier, I have very little in common with Him. Maybe that will change in the future if I take kendo classes, but for now Mars is not part of my religious life. Minerva, however, is a different matter.

The Calends are on the 1st, the Nones on the 7th and the Ides on the 15th. The first Wednesday is dedicated to Mercury, the 19th day to Minerva and the 21st to Ingui.

March 19: Minervalia
It’s a quiet month for me, with only one festivity: the ancient Quinquatria, which celebrates Minerva’s birthday. As such, I’ve come to use the name Minervalia more often. Being a goddess of crafts, both physical and mental, She’s naturally relevant for an historian and occasional potter like myself. Whether She’s the same as Athena is not entirely clear to me and I have to admit that Minerva is not one of the deities I feel closest to. I acknowledge Her patronage over things in my life and pay due tribute as a result, but I guess you could say that I have more of a business relationship than a personal one with Minerva.

So during Minervalia, I perform a morning ceremony in Her honour, presenting offerings of olive oil, incense and wine. In the afternoon, if time and weather allow, I may go for a walk and pour libations of water or offer flower wreaths to olive trees. And then there is Lisbon’s half marathon, which takes places close to the 19th. As a way of dedicating my physical effort to Minerva, I pour a handful of wheat at the starting line and then keep the medal in Her shrine.


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