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Sacred FollyA New History of the Feast of Fools$
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Max Harris

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449567

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449567.001.0001

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The Kalends of January

The Kalends of January

(p.11) Chapter 1 The Kalends of January
Sacred Folly

Max Harris

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on the Kalends masquerades, which have been assumed as the precursor of the Feast of Fools. In ancient Rome, the first day of each month was known as the kalendae (Kalends). After 153 BCE, the Kalends of January ushered in not only a new month but also a new political and calendar year. Civic rituals included a solemn procession of the two new consuls to the Senate, whereas domestic rituals included New Year's Eve visits to friends and relatives and offerings to the domestic gods of the hearth. This chapter provides a historical overview of the Kalends of January and considers how Kalends masquerading appeared in what is now southeastern France. It also examines how those in power disapproved of Kalends activities during the period.

Keywords:   rituals, Rome, Kalends masquerades, Feast of Fools, kalendae, New Year's Eve, France

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