Roman festivals  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In ancient Roman religion, holidays were celebrated to worship and celebrate a certain god or divine event, and consisted of religious observances and festival traditions, usually with a large feast, and often featuring games (ludi). The most important festivals were the Saturnalia, the Consualia, the Lupercalia and the rites of the Bona Dea. Among the most useful sources for Ancient Roman holidays is Ovid's Fasti, a poem that documents in detail the festivals of January to June at the time of Augustus.

By the outset of the nineteenth century and particularly in response to the carnage of the latter years of the French revolution, the term Roman holiday had taken on sinister aspects, implying an event that occasions enjoyment or profit at the expense, or derived from the suffering, of others, as in this passage from Childe Harold's Pilgramage (1812-18) by George Gordon, Lord Byron:

"There were his young barbarians all at play,/There was their Dacian mother--he their sire,/Butchered to make a Roman holiday."

The list of Roman festivals that follows below is organized by date. Some of these festivals were instituted in different eras. When possible, the initial date is stated.



  • January 1 Kalends Ianuarius
  • January 2 Compitalia
  • January 9– the first Agonalia, in honor of the god Janus, after whom the month January is named and to whom the Romans prayed for advice.
  • January 11 and January 15– Carmentalia
  • January 24 to January 26– Sementivae (in the country called Paganalia)









  • September – Septimontium.
  • September 4 to 19– Ludi Romani, games for the people of Rome to the honour of Jupiter, organized by the curule aedile (since 366 BC)
  • September 26– Festival of Venus Genetrix ("Mother Venus") in her role as the ancestress of the Roman people.




See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Roman festivals" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools