Kicking away the dirt hiding Roman history and finding what lies beneath...have we got the age of Rome all wrong?
Wednesday 31 October 2012
A spooky Gallic day
Well, today is the end of the first fortnight in the Gaulish month of Samonius. Essentially, this was the month that marked change or death to the Gauls, when all the crops and trees began to whither in the face of the approaching winter...so what better time to have a festival. Weird? Look at it from a Gaulish point of view - all the hard work of harvesting was behind them, the larders were full and it was generally believed that as death approached it was the best time to communicate with the gods and the ancestors. In fact this is the very day when the living and the not-so-living were believed to be closest in time and place, so much so that those from either realm could move freely from one to the other. Sounds like a freaky kind of day, eh? But here's the clincher...an important thing to remember about the Gauls is that they measured their days from dusk - rather than dawn - so a new day began with the going down of the sun - ever wondered why we say 'fortnight' instead of 'fortday'? So this festival where the dead and living mixed began at sunset...on this very night. Kind of makes you wonder what we'd do if we still celebrated it...doesn't it?