In India a ritual was held when the the cotton boles (pods) ripen and burst. When this change in the plant occurs, it was the custom to select the largest plant in the field and having sprinkled it with buttermilk and rice water, to bind it all over with pieces of cotton taken from other plants in the field.
The selected plant is called “Mother Cotton” and after salutations are made to it, prayers are offered that the other plants may resemble it in the richness of their produce.
In other areas of India, when the cotton pods begin to burst, women go round the field, and as a kind of lustration, throw salt into it, with similar supplications that the produce may be abundant. The practice appears to be observed in somewhat similar fashion to the Ambravalia of the Romans and the Field-Litanies of the English Church.
Cotton is a kharif crop which requires 6 to 8 months to mature. Dates for this ritual vary from year to year, region to region because its time of sowing and harvesting differs in different parts of the country depending upon the climatic conditions. In Punjab and Haryana it is sown in April-May and is harvested in December-January that is before the winter frost can damage the crop.
August 25th is the Opconsivia, (or Opeconsiva or Opalia) the harvest festival of Ops, the Roman goddess of agricultural resources and wealth, also known as Opis. The festival marked the end of harvest, with a mirror festival on December 19 concerned with the storage of the grain.
- Themes: Opportunity; Wealth; Fertility; Growth
- Symbols: Bread; Seeds; Soil
About Ops: This Italian goddess of fertile earth provides us with numerous “op-portunities” to make every day more productive. In stories, Ops motivates fruit bearing, not just in plants but also in our spirits. She also controls the wealth of the gods, making her a goddess of opulence! Works of art depict Ops with a loaf of bread in one hand, and the other outstretched, offering aid.
To Do Today:
On this day, Ops was evoked by sitting on the earth itself, where she lives in body and spirit. So, weather permitting, take yourself on a picnic lunch today. Sit with Ops and enjoy any sesame or poppy breadstuff (bagel, roll, etc.) – both types of seeds are magically aligned with Ops’s money-bringing power. If possible, keep a few of the seeds from the bread in your pocket or shoe so that after lunch, Ops’s opportunities for financial improvements or personal growth can be with you no matter where you go. And don’t forget to leave a few crumbs for the birds so they can take your magical wishes to the four corners of creation.
If the weather doesn’t cooperate, invoke Ops by getting as close to the earth as you can (sit on your floor, go into the cellar). Alternatively, eat earthy foods like potatoes, root crops, or any fruit that comes from Ops’s abundant storehouse.
More About This Festival:
The Latin word consivia (or consiva) derives from conserere (“to sow”). Opis was deemed an underworld goddess who made the vegetation grow. Since her abode was inside the earth, Ops was invoked by her worshipers while sitting, with their hands touching the ground.
Although Ops is a consort of Saturn, she was also closely associated with Consus, the protector of grains and subterranean storage bins (silos). The festival of Consus, the Consualia, was celebrated twice a year, each time preceding that of Ops: once on August 21, after the harvest, and once on December 15, after the sowing of crops was finished.
The Opiconsivia festival was superintended by the Vestals and the Flamines of Quirinus, an early Sabine god said to be the deified Romulus. The main priestess at the regia wore a white veil, characteristic of the vestal virgins. A chariot race was performed in the Circus Maximus. Horses and mules, their heads crowned with chaplets made of flowers, also took part in the celebration.
On December 13, the anniversary of the Temple of Tellus was celebrated along with a lectisternium (banquet) for Ceres, who embodied “growing power” and the productivity of the earth. This day was known as The Sementivaem, and was the second of two yearly festivals of Tellus Mater, the Roman earth goddess.
Very little is known about how it was celebrated. More is known about the first yearly Festival of Tellus. This festival was celebrated in honour of Tellus on the 15th of April, which was called Fordicidia or Hordicalia. You can read about it here: Fordicia – The Festival of Tellus.
In private life sacrifices were offered to Tellus at the time of sowing and at harvest-time, especially when a member of the family had died without due honors having been paid to him, for it was Tellus that had to receive the departed into her bosom. At the festival of Tellus, and when sacrifices were offered to her, the priests also prayed to a male divinity of the earth, called Tellumo.
When an oath was taken by Tellus, or the gods of the nether world, people stretched their hands downward, just as they turned them upwards in swearing by Jupiter.
About the Temple:
The Temple of Tellus was the most prominent landmark of the Carinae, a fashionable neighborhood on the Oppian Hill. It was near homes belonging to Pompey and to the Cicero family.
The temple was the result of a votum made in 268 BC by Publius Sempronius Sophus when an earthquake struck during a battle with the Picenes. Others say it was built by the Roman people. It occupied the former site of a house belonging to Spurius Cassius, which had been torn down when he was executed in 485 BC for attempting to make himself king. The anniversary (dies natalis) of its dedication was December 13.
A mysterious object called the magmentarium was stored in the temple, which was also known for a representation of Italy on the wall, either a map or an allegory.
A statue of Quintus Cicero, set up by his brother Marcus, was among those that stood on the temple grounds. Cicero claims that the proximity of his property caused some Romans to assume he had a responsibility to help maintain the temple.