Anna Parenna Festival

Anna Parenna Festival

March 15
Anna Parenna was a Roman goddess who represented the circle or ring of the year—Anna being the feminine form of annus (meaning "year") and March, the month her festival was observed, being the first month of the Roman calendar. Anna was usually depicted as the old woman of the year that had just passed, while Mars was the god of the first month of the new year. According to legend, in 494 b.c.e. the ancient Roman plebs, or common citizens, fled the city to put political pressure on the patricians (aristocracy), who needed the plebs for the army. They took refuge on the Mons Sacer, a mountain near Rome. They began to run out of food and suffer starvation. Anna, an old woman from Bovillae, brought them cakes every day. When peace was reestablished, the people made her one of their deities and added Parenna (meaning "enduring" or "lasting throughout the year") to her name.
On the day of her festival, the plebs of Rome went to the Campus Martius, a large field outside the walls of the city, and lay about on the grass, often pitching tents or constructing simple huts out of stakes and branches with togas stretched across the top. They spent the day drinking, dancing, and singing, returning to the city at night in a state of deep intoxication. As they drank, they often prayed to Anna to let them live as many years as the number of cups of wine they had swallowed.
SOURCES:
ClassDict-1984, p. 48
DictRomRel-1996, p. 9
FestRom-1981, p. 90