Parentalia - Calendar of Revelry and Sacred Days

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

Calendar of Revelry and Sacred Days

This eight-day Roman festival in February honored dead ancestors. All temples were closed, no marriages took place and government officials were forbidden to wear their robes in public. Individuals visited the graves of their parents and other relatives, bringing offerings of milk, wine, honey, oil, and spring water. Some brought sacrificial blood from bodies of black animals. Graves were decorated with roses and violets and a ritual meal was eaten at graveside. The festival’s ritual greeting and farewell were the words, Salve, sancte parens, “Hail, holy ancestor.” The Vestal Virgins, guardians of Rome’s sacred hearth and fire, had their own particular rituals during this time, where they honored the group’s sacred “ancestor.”