April Fools, Cybele and Hilaria
An archaeologist unearths the divine feminine, one archetype at a time...
|Cybele and Attis|
Goddesses in the Dust: April Fools, Cybele and Hilaria
Who knew? April Fools Day has its roots in an ancient Roman festival known as Hilaria. Hilarious, right? How did that happen?
Seems as though the term Hilaria was used in a couple of contexts - to celebrate any major event, such as an anniversary or birth, or election of a new emperor. Yet is also referred to a festival honoring the goddess Cybele - the "Great Mother" - and her consort, Attis, on March 25, whose four feast days started on the spring equinox. As with many ancient agricultural festivals honoring a dying and resurrected god or goddess, Hilaria celebrated the resurrection of Attis, Cybele's consort. Two days of mourning were followed by dancing, feasting and masquerading. It's likely that one of the origins for the hijinks of April Fool's Day grew out of the final day of the festivities of Hilaria, culminating in a day of general revelry and the wearing of disguises. Other cultures hold celebrations around the time of the vernal equinox. Iranians play pranks on each other on the 13th day of Persian New Year, which often lines up with April 1. It's historically not surprising that, after a long winter, folks are ready to burn off pent up energy, and playing jokes on one another is one way to do that.
So when you prank your favorite target today with the April Fool's joke you've been waiting to spring on them all year:
whoopee cushion on your boss's chair
putting mustard in a Devil's food cookie and giving it to your little sister (yes, my brother and I pulled this one)
or this devilishly good prank at a fast food drive through
just remember - you're keeping a two thousand year old tradition alive!