Veneralia is an ancient Roman celebration of Venus that took place on the Kalends of Aprilis, that is, the first of April.
Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome, considered Venus to be his ancestor and Mars to be his father, so the ancient calendar of Rome began with the month of Mars (March) followed by the month of Venus, beginning with the celebration of the Goddess to whom it was dedicated.
Lore & Celebrating Veneralia
On this day, Venus was celebrated as Venus Verticordia (changer of hearts). According to Ovid (Fasti) this aspect of Venus rules over vows of chastity, morality, beauty and reputation.
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Honoring her encouraged adherence to social norms about sexuality for both men and women.
During the festival, women carried the Venus’s statue to the men’s baths where it was ceremonially washed and dressed the statue of Venus at the temple near the Circus Maximus and then both the statue and its attendants were covered in myrtle.
In addition, the statue of the Goddess Fortuna Virilis (Manly, virile) was washed and dressed and offered incense and flowers.
Women wore crowns of myrtle and bathed, bathed in the public baths and poured out libations to Venus of pounded poppy with milk and honey and sought guidance from the Goddesses regarding their marriages, romances and sex lives.
The festival is said to have been founded on the advice of the Sibylline oracle in response to a rash of sexual offenses that had shocked Roman society (including vows of chastity broken by not one but three Vestal Virgins) and apparently offended the Gods, resulting in unusual natural phenomena.
A woman was chosen based on her purity or virtue to dedicate the statue of Venus Verticordia which may originally have been housed in the temple of Fortuna Verilis before being moved to her own temple sometime later.
Veneralia Ritual Components
|Purpose||Honoring and celebrating the goddess Venus|
|Offerings||Flowers, perfumes, incense, love tokens|
|Ritual Activities||Prayers, invocations, meditation, love spells|
|Decorations||Adorned altars, images of Venus, floral arrangements|
|Feast||Sharing a meal with loved ones, enjoying sensual delights|
|Symbols||Doves, roses, seashells, mirrors, love charms|
Veneralia Traditions and Customs Table
|Love Spells||Casting spells for attracting love and enhancing relationships|
|Beauty Rituals||Pampering oneself, indulging in self-care, enhancing personal beauty|
|Offering to Venus||Presenting offerings of flowers, perfumes, and love tokens to Venus|
|Aphrodisiacs||Consuming or creating aphrodisiac foods and drinks to stimulate passion|
|Love Charms||Crafting or wearing love charms for attracting love and enhancing romance|
|Sacred Baths||Taking ritual baths with love-enhancing herbs and oils to cleanse and attract love|