January 3rd is the traditional date of the Compitalia festival, one of the oldest communal celebrations of ancient Roman religion. The festival honors the Lares, or the household gods and gods of crossroads. Above is pictured a lararium, the domestic shrine located in the home or place of business for regular sacrifices to these powerful and personal deities. Little terracotta or bronze statues of the Lares (along with a statue of the genius of the paterfamilias) were offered honey cakes on this holiday. The Compitalia rituals, both public and private, were preformed by slaves.
“During the celebration of the festival, each family placed the statue of the underworld goddess Mania at the door of their house. They also hung up at their doors figures of wool representing men and women, accompanying them with humble requests that the Lares and Mania would be contented with those figures, and spare the people of the house. Slaves offered balls or fleeces of wool instead of human figures.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compitalia
Happy Compitalia, Nicomedes, Simon, Allerix and Bryaxis!!! Get your fleece balls dangling. 😀