Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hilaria: Roman Festival of Jokes


The festival of Hilaria was dedicated to the goddess Cybele, also known as the Magna Comici or Great Comedian.  In Cybele's mythographic narratives she is most closely associated with her relationship to Attis:


Attis is described by ancient Greek and Roman sources as her young consort and a great Phrygian straight man.

The Romans celebrated Hilaria starting on March 25th as a feria stativa, or free day in which the people, especially the slaves were not obliged to work.  It was the first day after the vernal equinox, the first day that was longer than the night. Winter with its gloom had departed and the day was spent in rejoicings and pranks. The festival ran for eight days ending in a culmination of festivities on April 1st.

During Hilaria, Everyone gets in on the act



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