There has been little to celebrate recently so no harm in resurrecting a long forgotten festival beloved of Ancient Rome – Meditrinalia.
In Ancient Rome the date 11 October was marked in bold on the calendar because it was the day Romans started to drink their new stores of wine.
Avid wine drinkers may immediately think of today’s Beaujolais nouveau traditon, whereby wine is fermened for just three weeks from mid-October before being glugged back starting from 3 November each year.
We are forever borrowing from Ancient Rome, often without even realising it, so the festival of Meditrinalia could be something of a forerunner of today’s Beaujolais nouveau tradition.
Ancient Romans were a thrifty lot, however, and mixed the new wine with the old.
The festival is thought to have started when Rome was just a small agricultural area and it is linked to Jupiter, the god of sky and thunder, but also the most important god. His symbols were an oak tree and an eagle – strength and fertility on earth and power in the sky.
It is thought that the name Meditrinalia derives from the Latin word “medendus” – “healing” – because drinking wine had a beneficial effect on health for the Ancient Romans.
Today we are told that a glass of red wine a day can improve heart health by keeping our arteries clear. It also cheers us up in moderation – and a glass of wine with friends is a sociable thing to do.
The Ancient Romans loved nothing more than a reason to have a festival or celebrate.
On 15 October every year, they used to hold a horse sacrifice on the Campus Martius – a large area of Rome that today stretches from Teatro Marcello, near the Jewish Quarter, to the the River Tiber.
Personally, I would stick with Meditrinalia. If you are a non-drinker, perhaps raise a glass of grape juice instead – just as good for your arteries and very much in the spirit of Ancient Rome.
I am sure Jupiter would approve.
Want to go to Rome now?
Download the ROME ALONE series of novels at Amazon Kindle – and curl up with some autumn reading!
In ROME ALONE, unhappy housewife Bee and newly-divorced Alzheimer’s expert Dr Neil McCarthy head off from opposite ends of the UK for a September mini-break to the Eternal City, in an attempt to escape marital discord.
As they make their way round the ancient sites, what happens in Rome will change their lives forever.
Rejoin them three years’ later in ROME AGAIN when the dark forces that were working behind the scenes on their first trip begin to emerge.
In VERONA ALONE, newly divorced Moira – a former professional cellist – decides to fulfil a childhood dream and visit Verona during the summer opera season.
There she meets a quirky American who takes her under his wing, but he is not all he seems and soon Moira finds herself all at sea and in hot water.
A year later in VERONA AGAIN, Moira has to return to Verona and Romeo’s door to lay a ghost to rest before she can move on. But what Moira finds at Romeo’s door means a decision has to be made that will change her life.
Download the ROME ALONE series
Download ROME ALONE
Download ROME AGAIN
Download VERONA ALONE
Download VERONA AGAIN
All images copyright A. Meredith except where stated