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Vulcanalia (Volcanalia)

August 23
Vulcan was the ancient Roman god of volcanic or destructive fire—not to be confused with the Greek god Hephaestus, who was the god of the blacksmith's forge and therefore a kindly fire god. In offering sacrifices to Vulcan, it was customary to burn the whole victim—usually a calf or a boar—rather than reserving a part of the animal, as was common when worshipping other gods.
The Vulcanalia, or festival in honor of Vulcan, was held on August 23, right at the time of year when forest fires might be expected and when the stored grain was in danger of burning. For this reason Vulcan's cult was very prominent at Ostia, where Rome's grain was stored. At the Vulcanalia, which was observed in Egypt, in Athens, and in Rome, the priest or flamen Volcanis performed a sacrifice, and the heads of families burned small fish they had caught in the Tiber River.
It was the Emperor Augustus who divided the city of Rome into small districts to facilitate fire fighting, and who was honored as Volcanus Quietus Augustus.
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Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.