februa juno

Sometyme when the Romaines by great might and royal power,
conquered all the world, they were so proude, that they forgat God,
and made them divers gods after their own lust.
And so among all they had a god that they called Mars,
that had been tofore a notable knight in battayle;
and so they prayed to hym for help,
and for that they would speed the better of this knight,
the people prayed and did great worship to his mother,
that was called Februa,
after which woman much people have opinion that the moneth February is called.
Wherefore the second daie of thys moneth is Candlemass Day.
The Romaines this night went about the city of Rome
with torches and candles brenning in worship of this woman Februa,
for hope to have the more helpe and succoure of her sonne Mars.
Then there was a Pope that was called Sergius,
and when he saw Christian people draw to this false maumetry and untrue belief,
he thought to undo this foule use and custome
and turn it onto Gods worship and our Ladys,
and gave commandment that all Christian people
should come to church and offer up a candle brennyng,
in the worship that they did to this woman Februa,
and do worship to our Lady and to her sonne our Lord Jesus Christ.
So that now this feast is solemnly hallowed thorowe all Christendome.
And every Christian man and woman of covenable age is bound
to come to church and offer up their candles,
as though they were bodily with our Lady hopyng for this reverence and worship,
that they do to our Ladye, to have a great rewarde in Heaven.
-Decon Gergusson, ‘Reliques of Rome’, chapter: Festival, 1563 CE



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