~ Hilaria ~ hilaris ‘hilarious’ ~ ἱλάρια
Today marked the end of the 12-day festival of Cybele, the Anatolian mother goddess of mountains and fertility, and a life-death-rebirth deity , who was adopted by the Romans as their own Mother of the Gods.
In Ancient Roman religious tradition, the HILAʹRIA (Greek: ἱλάρια Latin: hilaris, “hilarious”) were festivals celebrated on the Spring (vernal) equinox to honor Cybele (cult of the Great Mother – Magna Mata, Gaia, Earth mother).
Hilaria seems originally to have been a name which was given to any day or season of rejoicing. According to St Maximus, the hilaria were either private or public. A private hilaria on occasions of marriage (a ritual/ceremony representing sacred union, reconnection of ying/yang) and birth celebrations. A public hilaria was an emperor appointed day of celebration, the equivalent of a national holiday feria stativa (free day).
The Roman feria stativa, Hilaria Matris Deûm, March 25th was the first day after the Spring equinox, or the first day of the year which was longer than the night. The winter had passed away and the arrival of the season of rebirth, renewal and regrowth was spent in rejoicings. A day where all kinds of games, in honour of the mother of the gods, and amusements were had; masquerades were the most prominent among them, and every one might, in his disguise, imitate whomsoever he liked, and even magistrates.
In the Christian calendar, March 25 is the day of annunciation when Archangel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would become the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Despite being a virgin, Mary would miraculously conceive a child and to name her son Jesus, meaning “YHWH delivers”.
Hilaria, Cybele, Spring Equinox, Virgin Mary, Announciation, March 25