Mummery is as ancient as man's dream of getting outside of his customary life; it is as old as man's imagination. Tracing back through the mazes of history that led to England and Germany, to ancient France, pagan Rome and Greece, we find mummery has influenced customs and perpetuated many interesting traditions.Every nation had its festivals at one time or another, each marked by parades and displays of fanciful costumes. The pagan Saturnalia and carnival, for example an ancient Roman festival of Saturn, beginning December 17th, was marked by unrestrained merry-making.As far back as 400 BC Roman laborers observed the feast of the Saturnalia inhonor of their god, Saturn, and the reaping of the harvest.
They made calls on friends, they exchanged gifts and it was customary for some of the gifts to bear grettings for a happy new year.
sported robes from their masters, and the patricians, wearing fantastic
costumes, roamed the streets with their slaves. Age and rank were
forgotten for the fiesta and all persons were free for the day. There
was a musical background for the capers of the multitude with song and
ballads befitting the joyous occasion.
An early custom was the
Florentine Carnival usually held in the beginning of lent - a day set
aside by the monks of the Middle Ages for the lords of misrule and the
abbots of unreason.
At this time, England and
Germany celebrated their Christmas Mosque, resulting in riotous
indulgence. This tookthe form of a dramatic entertainment popular in
the 16th and 17th centuries, and followed usually an allegorical theme
which embodied pageantry, music and dancing.
Immigrants and travelers
brought these customs, celebrations and festivities when they came to
America. Continued throughout the centuries of American history, this
traditional gala pagent of Philadelphia symbolizes the ushering in of
the new year.
One of the earlest known
accounts of a mummers' parade was written by Dr. Henry Muhlenberg, who
esablished the Lutheran Church in America. He wrote in 1839: "Men met
on the roads in Tinicum and Kingsessing, who were disguised as clowns,
shouting at the top of thier voices and shooting guns.
When the Swedes came to
Tinicum, just outside of Philadelphia, they brought their custom of
visiting friends on "Second DayChr......
The Wiccan pentacle has been added to the list of emblems allowed in national cemeteries and on goverment-issued headstones of fallen soldiers, according to a settlement announced Monday. A settlement between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Wiccans adds the five-pointed star to the list of "emblems of belief" allowed on VA grave markers.Eleven families nationwide are waiting for grave markers with the pentacle, said Selena Fox, a Wiccan high priestess with Circle Sanctuary ...Pagan prisoners win right to have 'magic wands'
Prison bosses have been instructed to let pagan inmates keep twigs in their cells...to use as wands. Officers have been told to allow prisoners to collect and decorate the twigs which they need for their rituals. It is the latest in a series of rulings to protect convicts" rights and ensure equality among different faiths. Followers of other faiths are allowed items such as a prayer mat to allow them to worship.The policy regarding pagans was announced by Justice Reform Minister Maria Eagle in a...Vatican Opens Pagan Tombs Under St. Peter's
A massive altar dedicated to an eastern cult deity has emerged during excavations of a Roman fort in northern England.
Weighing 1.5 tons, the four-foot high ornately carved stone relic, was unearthed at the Roman fort of Vindolanda, which was built by order of the Emperor Hadrian between 122-30 A.D.
The Romans built the defensive wall across the north of Britain from Carlisle to Newcastle-on-Tyne, to keep out invading armies from what is now Scotland.
What should have been...Pagan Religion Grows In Popularity
For many Halloween is a time for fun and dressing up, but for others it has a greater significance - some believe it to be a time for tradition and celebration while others perceive it assomething altogether more sinister."Witches, beware. Mummies, be gone.Halloween may be a celebration of all things creepy and macabre, but a growing number of US communities are shunning traditional ghoulish festivities, seen by some as tainted...Pagan festival held in Pittsburg
What better way to show God you appreciate him than to squander his most
precious gift, life, in a miasma of ruthlessness and gore? In addition to justifying Crusades, Witch Trials and Wars, this theological
breakthrough is also the main justification for the time-honored practice of
Sacrifices are perhaps the most ancient method to honor deities, going right
back to the earliest ancestor-worship religions of Egypt and Mesopotamia. The original theory was "everyone ...