Welcome, Anthestêriôn and Year of the 羊!

I’m going to spoil my upcoming entry and announce that our House has chosen a new date for our lunar new year: Anthestêriôn. Prior to this, we used Athenian reckoning and started on Hekatombaiôn, but we felt that the date had little significance to our cultus and to the general cultural setting of where we live.

In case our Western readers are unaware, the noumênia of Anthestêriôn (i.e. the second new moon after the winter solstice) coincides with the beginning of the first month in the Chinese calendar (thus being the New Year). It is also a significant coincidence that both months are associated with springtime, flowers, and a link between the past and the present.

And whilst there are only a handful of Filipino families that are actually of Chinese origin, the Chinese New Year remains a culturally significant time for many urban and suburban households. It is not uncommon for Filipino Catholics, for example, to flock to nearby Daoist or Buddhist temples to offer prayers for a prosperous new year. And who doesn’t want to know their feng shui around here? Everybody who isn’t a fundamentalist Protestant seems to be so concerned about the lucky colour of the year or which charms to hang by the door or which parts of their house they want to rearrange on Chinese New Year’s Eve.

Staying true to the mestizo heritage of our house, we have included symbols and auspicious offerings from both East and West in our celebration below:

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Coincidentally, I’ve also taken up gardening again, starting with this pot of earth. The petals you see are for mulching, and come from last Theogamia‘s roses. I say, fertility for fertility! Wish my tomatoes good health!

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Today Is the Sixth of February And the Sixth of Anthestêrion Too

This dual-calendar gentile couldn’t be happier. For the first time in a while, the first day of the secular month was also the first day of the lunar. On the Chinese New Year, no less!

Tikoy and chai meet grapes and wine as we celebrate the beginning of the 1st month in the Chinese calendar, the 2nd in the Roman calendar, and the 8th in the Athenian.

Tikoy and chai met grapes and wine as we celebrated the beginning of the 1st month in the Chinese calendar, the 2nd in the Roman calendar, and the 8th in the Athenian. Mestizo paganism, at its best!

Now, if only the rest of the year could be as uncomplicated as February 2014.

Pre-Noumênia Planning

This is what should happen today through tomorrow morning (again, as we begin our “days” at sundown):

  • Me, sleeping at this very instant
  • Waking at around 4 or 5 this afternoon to clean the Household Shrine and other ‘vital’ parts of the house my mother forgot to clean (she usually just cleans the floors downstairs)
  • Mother should be buying grapes or other fruits in season
  • Taking out the old offerings to be burnt before sundown
  • Bathing in absolute silence, no words to be uttered until the first prayer is recited
  • Lightning the shrine flame for the first time in the new month with prayers to Hestia at around 7 in the evening – the flame has to be fed with butter or oil
  • Carefully performing the initial rites to open the new month, prayers to Hestia, Apollôn Noumenios, and the Moon (second part to follow at first light)
  • Doing whatever, eating a full meal, having fun with family, getting some sleep
  • Waking up at around 5 in the morning to prepare the first offerings for the new month
  • Cleaning the hearth-stove and kitchen (very, very important) – this is where we prepare and cook our food
  • Cleaning the threshold and the doorstep (also very important) – this is where we pass through and where gods enter to bless us
  • Again, bathing in absolute silence, no words to be uttered until the first prayer is recited
  • Lighting the hearth-stove with the shrine flame (linking the two fires, making them one) at around 7 in the morning
  • Carefully performing the second part of the rites to open the new month, prayers to the Earth-mother, Janurmes (that’s Hermês + Janus LOLOL), Dawn, and the Household Gods (Zeus, Hêra, and the Agathodaimôn on top)
  • First offerings (“first fruits”) set at the House Shrine to “feed” the new month
  • All is set, enjoy the rest of the month

New Moons on Busy Weekdays

Okay, one last thing before I sleep.

Tonight is when the moon makes its first appearance in the night sky, marking the beginning of a new month. It is the first evening (as we begin our days at sundown) in the lunar month of Maimakteriôn (Μαιμακτεριών), 5th in the old Athenian calendar. With work in the way, it’s only realistic to predict that I won’t be able to perform the traditional rites to start the new month for my household on the exact date of the new moon. It’s almost past noon and I should be sleeping now (ideally, I should be sleeping at 10 and waking up at 6). As much as I take my cultus seriously, health is also an important part of my devotion to the Gods. I need my beauty sleep.

But, worry not, as new moons have happened on busy weekdays before, I have decided to perform the opening ceremony tomorrow evening, instead. I’m sure the Household Gods wouldn’t mind resting for another day.

I promise to sleep earlier tomorrow as it’s going be a Noumênia + Agathos Daimôn combo! But hey, if you’re already celebrating tonight, have a Kala Noumênia!