Happy Lemuralia

Español: Bioparc - Lemures en la Isla de los L...

Español: Bioparc – Lemures en la Isla de los Lemures en la seccion Madagascar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is an ancient Roman festival (actually, the last day of a five-day holiday), known as Lemuralia. This was the Roman equivalent of Halloween, essentially. The point of the holiday was to appease and ward off the unquiet dead, known as Larvae or Lemures, the ghosts of those who had died without receiving the proper funerary rites, or who didn’t have families to venerate their spirits. The historical, traditional celebrations of Lemuralia is a reserved, low-key affair, involving some rituals to feed the ghosts (but not to much, and not too well, so that they are fed, but they don’t feel the urge to stick around), and setting extra places for them at the dinner table.

Hestia01-lQuite frankly, I’d rather have the candy.

They did have some fun traditions (like most festivals dealing with the dead, noisemaking is a feature), but overall I think this holiday needs an overhaul. So, in honor the Roman goddess Discordia and for the honor of the art-nation of New Lemuria, I claim Lemuralia as the official celebratory festival of New Lemuria, as well as the start of the new year of the Lemurian calendar (yes, this is cultural appropriation. It’s okay to culturally appropriate from the ancient Romans. They’re dead, they don’t care. And most of them were dicks, anyway.)

So, what will the new celebration entail? I don’t know yet, still working on it. I do intend to make it a multi-day affair, but my efforts this year will probably just be pouring out a little bit of wine and blowing into a noisemaker (from little acorns do mighty oaks grow.) I’ll be adding more to it from time to time.

casper-friendly-ghostOne thing I do want to talk about is how the new Lemuralia will actually be a bit of a reversal of the ancient Lemuralia. The point of ancient Lemuralia celebrations was to (politely) ward off and banish ghosts that weren’t related to you. It was a way of maintaining cultural continuity and reaffirming your clan and tribal ties, by explicitly excluding those ancestors who weren’t your ancestors.

New Lemuria needs something different. Part of the Cult of Lies is appropriating the history, the myths, the rituals, and the power of different personages and civilizations, both ‘historical’ and ‘fictional’ (as if there was a difference.) We want ghosts, the more the merrier. We want dead philosophers and nameless sorcerers. We want Atlantis and the Land of Faerie. We want the wandering and the lost, the once-weres and never-was’s. Let those unquiet dead come and dance at our Lemuralia, and let the art-nation of New Lemuria grow strong.

 

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2 comments for “Happy Lemuralia

  1. May 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Interesting and well-written! Thanks for sharing.

  2. May 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Happy new Lemuralia! I wasn’t aware of this holiday. Thanks for sharing :)

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