Friday

Get your Floral Wreath On Today!

Today is the first day of the Floralia, a three-day love festival.  Flora was a Sabine goddess of youthful pleasures, whose workshop is said to have been introduced into Rome by King Titus Tatius.  For the Floralia, inaugurated in 238 B.C.E as a dictate of the Sibylline books, people decorated themselves with flowers and engaged in a feast of unrestrained love and merriment.  There were also games and lewd theatrical performances.  (And we think Mardi Gras invented bawdiness.)

Romans celebrated Floralia with the set of games and theatrical presentations known as the Ludi Florales. Classical scholar Lily Ross Taylor notes that the Ludi Floralia, Apollinares, Ceriales, and Megalenses all had days of ludi scaenici (literally, scenic games, including plays) followed by a final day devoted to circus games.

The celebration in honor of Flora included floral wreaths worn in the hair much like modern participants in May Day celebrations. After the theatrical performances, the celebration continued in the Circus Maximus, where animals were set free and beans scattered to ensure fertility.


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