Neomenia or Noumenia

Neomenia or Noumenia (Gr. new moon), a festival of the ancient Greeks at the beginning of every lunar month, which was (as the name imports) observed upon the day of new moon in honor of all the gods, but especially of Apollo, who was called Νεομήνιος, because the sun is the first author of all light, and whatever distinction of times and seasons may be taken from other planets, yet they are all owing to him as the original and fountain of those borrowed rays by which they shine. This festival was observed with games and public entertainments made by the richer class, to whose tables the poor flocked in great numbers. The Athenians at these times offered solemn prayers and sacrifices for the prosperity of their country during the ensuing month in Erectheus's temple, in the Acropolis, which was kept by a dragon, to which they gave a cake made of honey. The Jews had their Neomenia, or feast of the new moon, on which peculiar sacrifices were appointed. They made on this day a sort of family entertainment and rejoicing. Thus David tells Jonathan, "Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat," etc; and Saul, we find, took it amiss that he did not attend. The most celebrated Neomenia of all others was that at the beginning of the civil year, or first day of the month Tisri. No servile labor was performed on that day; and they offered particular burnt sacrifices, and sounded the trumpets of the Temple. The modern Jews keep the Neomenia only as a feast of devotion, which any one may observe or not, as he pleases. In the prayers of the synagogue they read from Psalm 113 to 118. They bring forth the roll of the law, and read therein to four persons. They call to remembrance the sacrifice that used to be offered on this day in the Temple. SEE NEW MOON.

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