Happy Fornicalia

Celebrating the Ancient Roman religious festival in honor of the goddess Fornax
Loaf of bread with slice missing in a wicker basket

As we coast toward the nones of February whence we’ll commence the celebration of the Fornacalia, by all accounts an Ancient Roman religious festival celebrated in honor of the goddess Fornax, a divine personification of the oven (fornax), and was related to the proper baking of bread, I thought it only appropriate to call some attention to what should be an international holiday for bakers.

While shamefully few, if any(?), now celebrate the Fornacalia, I’ve always looked at the word as a portmanteau of a festival along the lines of a bacchanalia for bread with tinges of seeming Latin cognates fornicati, fornicatus, fornicata, and fornicatae or the Greek equivalent porneia (πορνεία). Knead these all together and you’ve got the makings of a modern day besotted festival of bread immorality. And really, who wouldn’t want to celebrate such a thing?!

I’ll celebrate myself by doing some baking, listening to the bread related episodes of Eat This Podcast, while reading and looking at bread porn on Fornacalia.com. Special thanks to curio maximus Jeremy Cherfas for providing entertainment for the festival!

How will you celebrate?

 

Featured photo Bread is a flickr photo by Jeremy Keith aka adactio shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license.

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Author: Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

12 responses on “Happy Fornicalia”

  1. Panis quadratus, carbonised at PompeiiPanis quadratus, carbonised at Pompeii

    When first I came across the ancient Roman festival of Fornacalia, back in 2010, it seemed to me an ideal opportunity for newly inspired bakers at home and in bakeries to celebrate their art. Two years later, I even left a desperate little plea to that effect in a forum I frequented. It died a death, as it has most years subsequently, a notable exception being Dan Etherington’s post Fornacalia, Fornax and burnt spelt. Like my leaven, though, which refuses to die, I’m going to give it another go.

    I’m emboldened to do so by Chris Aldrich, who took it upon himself to anoint me curio maximus. As such, it is my duty to proclaim Friday 16 February, an auspicious day for me, the day to celebrate Fornacalia, using the hashtag #fornacalia.

    I’ve been doing a little research of my own, torn between the Scylla of tried-and-tested and the Charybdis of new-and-appropriate, and I think I have come to a decision.

    Stay tuned. And spread the word.

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