Palilia an ancient Roman festival which was celebrated annually on April 21 in honor of Pales, the god of shepherds. On the same day afterwards this festival was kept as a memorial of the first founding of the city by Romulus. A minute description of the ceremonies practiced on this day occurs in the Fasti of Ovid. The first object to which the festival was directed was a public lustration by fire and smoke. For this purpose they burned the blood of the October-horse (q.v.), the ashes of the calves sacrificed at the festival of Ceres, and the shells of beans. The people were also 'sprinkled with water; they washed their hands in springwater, and drank milk, mixed with must. In the evening the stables were cleansed with water, sprinkled by, means of laurel branches, which were also hung up as ornaments. To produce purifying smoke for the sheep and their folds, the shepherds burned sulphur, rosemary, 'fir-wood, and incense.' Sacrifices besides were offered, consisting of cakes, millet, milk, and other eatables, after which a prayer was offered by the shepherds to Pales, their presiding deity. Fires were then kindled, made of heaps of straw, and, amid cheerful strains of music, the sheep were purified by being made to pass through the smoke three times. The whole ceremonies were wound up with a feast in the open air. In latter times .the Palilia lost its character as a shepherd festival, and dame to be held exclusively in commemoration of the day on which the building of Rome commenced. Caligula ordered the day of his accession to the throne to be celebrated as a festival under the name of Palilia. See Gardner, Faiths of the World, p. 589, 590.

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