Today’s holiday features the celebration of Roman goddesses Vesta and Juno as well as the celebration of Matronalia.
Symbolic Meanings for Today’s Holiday – March 1st
The first holiday we’ll explore for today comes from Rome. On the calends of March (calends meaning the first day of the month), ancient Romans celebrated various goddesses, and womanhood in general. The 1st of March is the day Vesta started lighting up the sacred fire in the Temple of Vesta. This was symbolic of the ‘lighting up’ or the ‘warming up to’ of Spring. With the rekindling of the Vesta fire, this was also a celebration of the Vestal Virgins. These virgins were the pure priestesses who surrounded the goddess Vesta. She was a Roman goddess who stood for womanhood as well as hearth, home and earth.
Also on this day the ancient Romans celebrated the festival of Matronalia, which was associated with Juno, the goddess of generosity, love, femininity, marriage and childbirth. This festival was a celebration of women, especially wives. Husbands and children were expected to give gifts to the women in their lives (whether mothers or wives). Women who had servants were expected to make meals for them, as servants had the day off on Matronalia.
In Wales, today’s holiday is called St. David’s day. This celebration features leeks and daffodils
Today’s Holiday in Wales is St. David’s Day
The symbolic meanings for today’s holiday varies widely depending on nation and culture of the people celebrating. In Wales, today’s holiday is called St. David’s Day. St. David is the patron saint of Wales and he is celebrated today, which was the day of his death in 589 AD.
So what’s the deal with leeks and daffodils? Well, firstly they are assumed to be symbols of St. David, but I think mostly, these two perky plants are a symbol of the first signs that Spring is coming.
Leeks and daffodils have a peculiar legend in today’s holiday for Wales. Today also marks the commemoration of the victory over the English. Local lore has it that St. David advised the Welshmen soldiers to wear leeks and/or daffodils on their hats during battle so they could all recognize their fellow countrymen during battle. See more about symbolic meaning of daffodils here.
Today’s Holiday in Scotland is Whuppity Scoorie
Symbolic Meanings for Today’s Holiday in Scotland
This is one of the more interesting celebrations around the world. Why? Well, it’s a little mysterious because its origins are unknown. Plus the festivities are a little unusual. The name of today’s holiday in Scotland is called ‘Whuppity Scoorie’. From what I gather in my research, it is essentially a kinda of ‘Yahoo!’ to the dying of Winter and a ‘Yeehaw’ to the oncoming Spring (I’m not sure if the Scots say yahoo or yeehaw, but you get my drift). As legend goes, around the 19th century the church bells in the small town of Lanark ceased to ring all winter. But on March 1st the church bells fired up after a long Winter’s spell. The lovely sound of the bells marked the renewal of the earth and the anticipation of Spring coming.
This doesn’t seem so odd, but what happens next has me a little baffled. At the first stoke of the church bells’ chime, all the townspeople congregate at the Lanark church. All the children then run around the church (clockwise) three times while the adults hurl pennies at the racing youngsters. Still…not too weird. Where I got a little stymied was when I learned the children made paper balls with a string attached. The kids would swing the balls over their head while dashing around the church and proceed to bonk their fellow racers on the head. After the three laps of the race was done, the children would grapple and grab all the pennies the adults had thrown during the race. I suppose if the kids weren’t pummeled by pennies or bludgeoned by swinging balls – they could potentially bring in a small fortune.
The origins of this interesting Scottish ritual on March 1st are unknown. However, some historical scholars claim the events on this holiday serve a purpose to scare the bejeebers out of the evil spirits, and cast away the winter doldrums.
At any rate, due to the concern for child welfare, today, Whuppity Scoorie is more of a festival of art and storytelling sponsored by the community center in the town of Lanark.
In conclusion, I hope you enjoyed these thoughts on the symbolic meanings for today’s holiday. Furthermore, I hope these holidays inspire you to create your own celebration every March 1st!
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As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you got some insights from this post on symbolic meanings for today’s holiday.
May all your holidays be meaningful!