‘Our ancestors left their tombs in night’s silent hour and wailed. The city streets and broad grassland howled, they say, with a hollow throng of shapeless souls.” – Ovid
In the month of February, there used to be an ancient festival called Parentalia (Latin pronunciation: [pa.renˈtaː.li.a]) or dies parentales (Latin pronunciation: [ˈdi.eːs pa.renˈtaː.les], “ancestral days”) that was held over a 9 day period starting on February 13 and ended with the Feralia on February 21. The festival began with the performance of ceremonies in honor of the dead by the purest woman in the Roman society, a Vestal Virgin.
The purpose of the ceremonies were to honor our ancestors and the dead with the goal to strengthen the mutual obligations and protective ties between the living and the dead, and were a lawful duty of the paterfamilias (head of the family).
The word Parentalia is derived from the same word where we get the English word, Parent. Parentare, “to celebrate the Parentalia,” consisted in honoring the di parentes, or dead, with offerings. The meaning of February comes from the word that means purify. The month of February was dedicated to purification.
Many of the facts about the history of this holiday come to us from the Roman poet Ovid (Fasti 2.537–539). All temples were closed during the festival and no wedding could be performed with “no incense for altars, no fires for hearths.”
The offerings made at our ancestor’s tombs included: garlands, grains of wheat, salt, bread softened with wine, a few violets. These modest offerings were appropriate for the manes, the shades or spirits of the dead. The festival ended with the public feast of the Feralia on February 21.
In the words of Ovid: “The cheerful and orderly festival of the Parentalia, the yearly renewal of the seemly rite of burial.’ ‘ The dead were still members of the family and there was nothing to fear from them so long as the living performed their duties towards them under the due regulations of the ius dz’w’num.’ ‘ When the liturgical nine days (Feb. 13—21) were over, the living members met together in the Caristia, a kind of love-feast of the family, at which all quarrels were to be forgotten, and from which all guilty members were excluded.”
What many people do not understand today is that honoring our ancestors with various festivals and rites was one of the most important aspects of our respective religions. For many millennia in all nations around the globe, ancestral worship was the key component to all religions. Almost all religions in existence are what we can call race religions that are based on ancestral worship, history, and their Gods, rites and laws.
Ancestor worship is an ancient religious practice based on the funeral rites of the dead. They believed that their soul continued on after death and they will look after the family, take an interest in the affairs of the world, and possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living.
In modern times, many people have replaced the honoring of their ancestors and their glorious history with the worship of other people or entities such as celebrities, politicians, and sports teams to name a few. They have given the power of their souls and blood to people who could care less about them, their history and their future.
Not only do they forget the past and bring dishonor to their ancestors, they have forgotten who they truly are. Trading their souls for a mask. Trading their immortal honor for temporary plasticity.
I choose to honor my ancestors and our family’s past history. To venerate their legacy for without them, I simply would not be here. To learn and grow in order to evolve our race. To carry the torch of light and truth in our bloodline line for many generations to come.
So mote it be!
Moe is the founder of GnosticWarrior.com. A website dedicated to both the ancient and modern teachings of Gnosticism.