The month of Venus begins with April Fool’s Day (also known as All Fools’ Day), an occasion for playing practical jokes on friends, family, and coworkers. This custom dates back to olden times, when inmates of insane asylums were allowed out in the streets for one day each year for the sadistic amusement of those who were (supposedly) normal.
The old Pagan custom of “carrying death away” is carried out in certain regions of Germany on this day. In celebration of Winter’s demise, special straw dolls are burned in sacred bonfires or “drowned” in sacred wells.
In Iran, on the thirteenth day of their New Year, special bowls containing sprouted seeds are traditionally cast into the rivers as offerings in the belief that the bad luck of the previous year will be carried away.
The goddess Persephone’s annual return from the Underworld, allowing the Earth to bloom again, was celebrated every year on this date by the ancient Romans.
The annual festival of Cybele, the Megalesia, was celebrated on this date in ancient Rome. She was a goddess of fertility whose cult originated in Phrygia. Her male attendants were self-castrated priests and worship of her was wild and orgiastic.
Festival of Kuan Yin. Every year on this day, Kuan Yin (the powerful Chinese goddess of healing, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness) is invoked for protection, love, mercy, and wisdom. Offerings of incense and violet-colored candles are placed on her altar, along with rolled-up pieces of rice paper upon which various wishes have been written.
In France, a children’s springtime festival takes place on this day. Miniature pine boats, each holding a burning candle, are cast into the estuaries of the Moselle River to symbolize the “sea of life” and the happiness of sailing its sacred waves.
The Blajini (or “kindly ones”) are celebrated annually on this day in various parts of Rumania. This is a sacred day in which offerings are made to the beneficial spirits of the water and the Underworld.
On this date in 1994, a group of Pagans carrying placards, banners, balloons, and streamers paraded joyously in Gainesville, Florida. They praised the Mother Goddess and invited all to celebrate the beauty of life. The focus of this Freedom of Religion Parade (sponsored by the Alachua Pagan Alliance) was to highlight the religious diversity of the community and to help foster tolerance.
Feast of A-Ma. Once a year on this day, the ancient goddess A-Ma is honored with a religious festival in the Portuguese territory of Macao. A-Ma is the patroness of fisherman and all those who sail the sea.
This day is sacred to all Amazon goddesses.
In England, the Hocktide Festival takes place on this date each year to celebrate the triumph of the Saxon she-warriors who battled against Danish invaders in the year A.D. 1002.
According to Celtic folklore, the Sun dances each year on this day. In many parts of Ireland, people arise at the first light of dawn to watch the Sun “dance” in a shimmering bowl of water.
Bau, the Goddess Mother of Ea, was honored each year on this day in ancient Babylonia with a sacred religious festival called the Day of Bau.
On this day each year, cross-inscribed loaves of bread are traditionally baked in honor of the Roman goddess Diana.
In Greece, branches of evergreen, myrtle, or bay were worn by children on this day for protection against the venomous evil eye.
In Armenia, the goddess Anahit is honored annually on this day with a sacred festival. She is a deity of both love and lunar power who dwells within the silver light of the Moon.
The Cerealia, an annual festival of the goddess Ceres, was celebrated by the ancient Romans in order to secure the fertility of the crops. The sacred rites of Ceres began on this date and were observed for eight consecutive days.
In Taiwan, the goddess who presides over birth (Chu-Si-Niu) is honored annually on this day with a religious festival. Pregnant women go to temples dedicated to her in order to receive blessings for their unborn children.
On this day, an annual festival of water is celebrated by Buddhists in Thailand. Buddha statues are ritually bathed and the water is thrown on the faithful to purify and “wash away” the evil spirits of the previous year. The festival lasts for three consecutive days.
According to superstitious belief, the fourteenth day of April is a very unlucky time for travel, especially by ship. (It was on this date in the year 1912 that the oceanliner Titanic collided with an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the sea.) Whether the Titanic tragedy spawned the superstition or merely served to reinforce it is unknown.
Maryamma (or Mariamne), the Hindu goddess of the sea, is honored in India with a sacred festival which begins annually on this day.
In ancient Rome, the earth-goddess Tellus (or Tellus Mater) was honored annually on this day. A pregnant cow was traditionally sacrificed at her sacred festival and the unborn calf burned in a bonfire to ensure the fertility of the crops.
Also on this day, the Festival of the Iron Phallus (Kanamara Matsuri) is celebrated annually in Kawasaki City, Japan. The ancient Japanese deities associated with sexuality and human reproduction give their sacred blessings and encouragement; especially to couples who wed late in life or to men who suffer from declining potency.
Every year on this day, the god Apollo was worshipped and supplicated by his faithful cult in ancient Greece. An annual festival called the Hiketeria was celebrated in his honor.
On this date in the year 1946, Pagan author Margot Adler was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her Wiccan handfasting on June 19, 1988 was the first Neo-Pagan Wedding to appear in the New York Times’ society pages.
In the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, an annual religious event called the Chariot Festival of the Rain God begins on this day. It is dedicated to Machendrana, the ancient and powerful Indian god of rain. The festival is celebrated for approximately eight consecutive weeks.
The Festival of Rama-Navami is celebrated every year on this date at sacred shrines throughout India. It honors both the great Hindu god Rama (the seventh incarnation of Vishnu) and the goddess Sita.
On this date in the year 1824, Lord Byron (whose real name was George Gordon) died of a fever. The English poet, who was known for dabbling in the occult arts, helped shape Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and gave John Polidori the idea for this novel The Vampyre. Lord Byron’s heart was removed from his corpse and buried in Greece; the rest of his remains were shipped back to England.
On this date (approximately) the Sun enters the astrological sign of Taurus. Persons born under the sign of the Bull are said to be stable, reliable, patient, and often stubborn. Taurus is an earth sign and is ruled by the planet Venus.
Birthday of Rome. On this day, an annual festival called the Palilia (Feast of Pales) was celebrated in ancient Rome to honor the pastoral goddess Pales. In the country, special purification rites were performed to keep the sheep disease-free. Shepherds, followed by their flock, would traditionally leap through bonfires. In the city of Rome, the festival was celebrated with wine and merriment.
Earth Day. This is a day dedicated to Mother Earth and a time for Witches throughout the world to perform Gaia-healing rituals. The first Earth Day took place in 1970 as a result of the Ecology Movement of that time, and since then it has been held each year to help encourage recycling programs and the use of solar energy, and to increase community awareness of important environmental issues.
The Vinalia, a joyous wine festival in honor of the god Jupiter, was held annually on this date in ancient Rome.
On this date in the year 1934, actress Shirley MacLaine was born. Her bestselling spirituality books have had a major influence on the Neo-Pagan movement and have made her name synonymous with the New Age.
On this date in the year 1976, the first national all-women conference on women’s spirituality was held in a rented church in Boston, Massachusetts. Several hundred women attended the event. They proclaimed “The Goddess is alive; magick is afoot!” and invoked Her by dancing, clapping, and chanting. The conference lasted for three consecutive days.
Saint Mark’s Eve. According to folklore of the English countryside, the ghosts of all men, women, and children destined to pass away in the next year can be seen floating by on this night by any person brave enough to spend the night awake on the front porch of a church. However, if a person was unfortunate enough to fall asleep during the vigil or if he failed to repeat it annually for the remainder of his life, he would never wake up the next morning.
On this date in the year 1989, USA Today reported that Patricia Hutchins, a military Wiccan stationed at an air force base in Texas, was granted religious leave by the United States Military in order to observe the eight Sabbats of the Wicca religion. Ms. Hutchins was the first Wiccan in history to have her religious holidays granted by the U.S. Air Force.
On this New Year’s Day in the African republic of Sierra Leone, an ancient seed-sowing ceremony is performed in honor of, and to appease, the powerful goddess of fertility who watches over the crops.
A mythical half-man, half-animal being called Tyi Wara is honored annually on this date with songs and dance by farmers in the African republic of Mali. It is believed among the Bambara tribe of that region that Tyi Wara was sent down to Earth by the gods of nature in order to teach human beings the necessary skills of farming.
In ancient Rome, the beautiful goddess Flora was honored annually on this date. She was a fertility and vegetation goddess of Springtime and flowering plants. Her three-day festival, the Floralia, marked the beginning of the growing season.
Pagan Tree Day. On this day, plant a tree dedicated to your favorite Pagan goddess or god. For instance: plant a myrtle tree in honor of Venus and Aphrodite; and oak for Demeter, Diana, and Hera; a pine for Attis, Cybele, and Pan; a rowan tree for all moon-goddesses; a sycamore for all Egyptian gods and goddesses; a willow for Artemis, Brigid, and Persephone; a yew for Hecate and Saturn; etc.
In Germany, Walpurgisnacht begins at sunrise on this date and ends at sunrise on the first day of May (May Day). Birch boughs are placed on all doors and windows to protect the home from evil spirits and sorcery. Traditional bonfires and torches of rosemary and juniper are lit, and according to legend, Witches can be seen riding across the sky on broomsticks on this dark and magickal night.
On this date in the year 1988, the English Witch Alexander Sanders (also known as King of the Witches) died of lung cancer. He was gifted with psychic powers, and was the founder of the Alexandrian tradition of Wicca.