This month: August

Originally called Sextilis, being the sixth month of the old Roman year, it was renamed in honour of Emperor Augustus at the start of the Common Era. The Calends, sacred to Juno, are on the first day of the month, the Nones on the 5th and the Ides, sacred to Jupiter, fall on the 13th. The 2nd, 6th and 14th days are traditionally considered unlucky. The first Wednesday of the month is dedicated to Mercury, the 19th day to Minerva and the 21st to Ingui.

August 4: Herculalia
Not an historical celebration, though the choice of date was not without traditional considerations. In ancient Rome, Hercules Invictus had a festival on August 12, but, following my preference for more evenly distributed feasts (as much as possible, at least), I moved it to the start of the month, after the Greek practice of honouring Hercules on the fourth day.

Besides a traditional ceremony with a ritual fire, physical activity is in order. Since it’s Summer, I may ride my bike to the beach, throw my boomerang and maybe swim before cycling back home, all the while pouring libations of wine before and/or after each form of exercise.

August 13: Nemoralia
The traditional celebration of Diana of the Woods. I plan to visit Her public altar, preferably in the company of my dog, who will also get a few treats during the day. I should pour libations, leave a flower wreath for the goddess and light candles by the window during the night, in what is a home adaptation of the ancient procession of torches.

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