Hilaria

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For the saint of this name, see Saints Chrysanthus and Daria.

In Ancient Roman religious tradition, the hilaria (Greek: ; Latin: hilaris, "hilarious") were festivals celebrated on the vernal equinox to honor Cybele.

The Romans took this feast originally from the Greeks, who called it ΑΝΑΒΑΣΙΣ, q.d. Ascensus: the eve of that day they spent in tears and lamentations, and denominated it ΚΑΤΑΒΑΣΙΣ, Descensus. Afterwards, the Greeks took the name ΙΛΑΡΙΑ, from the Romans, as appears from Photius's Bibliotheca, in his codex of the life of the philosopher Isidore of Alexandria.

The term seems originally to have been a name which was given to any day or season of rejoicing. The hilaria were, therefore, according to Maximus MonachusSchol. ad Dionys. Areopag. Epist. 8 either private or public. Among the former, he thinks it the day on which a person married, and on which a son was born; among the latter, those days of public rejoicings appointed by a new emperor. Such days were devoted to general rejoicings and public sacrifices, and no one was allowed to show any symptoms of grief or sorrow.

But the Romans also celebrated hilaria, as a feria stativa, on the 8th day before the Kalends of April—March 25—in honour of Cybele, the mother of the gods; and it is probably to distinguish these hilaria from those mentioned above, that the Augustan History ...
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