The Roman Custom of Eating Snails on the Feast of St. John the Baptist – District of the USA

The feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist falls very close to the summer solstice, which was celebrated as a major festival in nearly every pagan culture. The Romans were no exception, honoring their goddess Vesta on the Vestalia festival, which featured Romans sacrificing an unborn calf to this goddess of the hearth. It was also seen as a day primed for the movement of ghosts and evil spirits throughout the living world, since the night was at its shortest. Herbs were utilized to ward them away, and bonfires were stoked to bring light to the short night. Once Rome became Christianized and the Nativity of St. John the Baptist was fixed on this day, the pagan traditions became baptized.

The Roman Custom of Eating Snails on the Feast of St. John the Baptist – District of the USA

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