This year I have resolved to explore more than the ‘vanilla range’ of Pagan festivals. As I mentioned earlier, I am also interested in finding ways to secularise; or at least; ‘de-ritualise’ a lot of Pagan customs.
And tomorrow is the Ancient Roman Feast of the Larvae. Which itself is part of the festival of Lemuria.
Larvae -or Lemures- are wandering spirits of wicked men that were annually exorcised from homes with offerings of black beans and loud noises.
According to the Goddess Wikipedia, these beans were strewn about the house at midnight by the head of the household.
I’ll be honest. I’m not going to do that.
A more modern feast
- Leave discrete bowls of black beans on the perimeter of your property overnight on May 9. Dispose of them at a crossroads the next day. You should be able to buy dried black beans from your supermarket.
- Prepare some awesome Roman/Italian food for yourself, family and your Lares or house guardians (both indigenous and invited). I have only recently discovered that Romans did, in fact, have several forms of pasta. Marco Polo may have introduced noodles into Europe but pasta was already there. Ancient Roman pasta seems to have been based on a Greek recipe that called for frying rather than boiling it. What I am saying is if you have a really great pasta recipe then it’s totally okay to cook that. Tomato-based sauces may be pushing it but you know what? It’s the twenty first century. Not the minus third century.
- Montepulciano. Enough said. This has been my indicazione geografica tipica of choice for the last year. Frascati is more Roman (in that it has been grown around Rome for centuries) but if you haven’t had Montepulciano wine… Well… What are exorcism festivals for? Italian wine should be everybody’s sacrament. Every day. Pour a glass for your Lares and then get into it.
- Make some noise. This could be a good kid’s activity. Wander through your house making some noise. Smashing pans together maybe pushing it a little if you have neighbours. Be sure to also verbally banish the larvae from your house and the lives of your family. I’m going to do this while the food is cooking. That way the whole ritual conflates down to the length of a meal.
So there you have it. How to use a random Pagan festival as an excuse to drink imported red wine and annoy your neighbours.
Magic is awesome.