Natale di Roma
Happy Birthday Rome!
Everyone celebrates his/her birthday so why Rome shouldn’t do the same?
Every year on April 21st since 2771 years Rome celebrates its birthday as the traditional beginning of the eternal city. According to the legend handed down by Varro one of the greatest scholars and writers of ancient times, Rome was founded on April 21st 753 bC, when Romulus one of the 2 twin brothers started a new town on the palatine hill. The birthday of Rome also known as “Ab Urbe condita” (from latin: “from the founding of the City”) was defined thanks to astrological studies and since then this date became the official anniversary of Rome. During the imperial times the celebration of Rome anniversary became a propaganda for the emperors who organized magnificent celebrations on this special day. After the ancient times this festivity was totally abandoned but during the Renaissance time a group of humanists, members of the Roman Academy started to celebrate the birthday of Rome to pursue this ancient tradition which was condemned by the church as a pagan event, The official celebration started again after the unification of Italy and still today every Rome’s birthday is still celebrated today with costumes, cultural events and games.
Celebrations for Rome Birthday
The traditional birthday celebrations are held in the Circus Maximus and they start with the ritual of “tracciato del solco” the trench-digging. This tradition recalls the founding of Rome when Romulus traced a furrow in the ground using a plow to outline the new town.
Other entertainments include reenactments of the history of Rome, famous battle scenes and other ancient Rome celebrations. The festival is organized since 1994 by the “Gruppo Storico Romano” a non-profit cultural association founded in Rome with the collaboration of Rome University to promote celebrations and events related to Ancient Rome based on historical documents and ancient texts.
So the celebrations organized for Rome birthday aim to bring the Romans and tourists closer to the world of ancient Rome and its origins. A week full of meetings, seminars and conferences focused on the theme of ancient Rome that will culminate with the celebrations at the Roman Forum, the Circus Maximus and Capitol Hill.
Calendar of Events
(from Gruppo Storico Romano official website)
Friday April 20
9am – 6pm Photo exhibition of the events of the past years at the Circus Maximus
11am – 12pm at the Temple of Asclepius at the Lake in the Villa Borghese, religious ceremony PRO SALVTE ET FELICITATE REI PVBLICAE
Rome birthday Circus Maximus
09am – 4pm Information stands at the Circus Maximus at the CASTRVM, topics:
the Roman school in ancient Rome
the Roman woman: Clothing and make-up
the Roman man: Clothing and make-up
Legionnaires and Praetorians
Children’s Games – Gladiator games for children
Birthday of Rome Gladiators
12:00 14:20pm meeting with several writers at the Circus Maximus
2:30 – 3:30pm Children’s games of ancient Rome at the Circus Maximus
4:30 – 5:30 final of the 16th competition “Dea Roma” at the Capitol
5 – 6:10pm choir ROMAE AETERNA at the Capitol
6:30 – 7:30 choir ROMAE AETERNA at the Circus Maximus
Saturday April 21
Photo exhibition, information stands and meeting with writers like on Friday
11am – 12pm ADVENTVS DELL’ IMPERATORE ADRIANO at the Pantheon – The arrival in Rome and celebration of the Emperor, who was at the time of Trajan’s death in Antioch and could not come to Rome until the following year 118.
Rome birthday ceremony
3 – 4:40pm various ceremonies at the Circus Maximus
5 – 5:40pm Equestrian Games
6 – 8:30pm music, jazz, Roman folk songs
Sunday, April 22
Rome birthday historical group
9am – 6pm Photo exhibition
10am Opening ceremony COMMISSIO FERIARVM
10:30am Welcome to the dignitaries
11am Speech by Mecenate
11:15am Start of the parade
Rome birthday parade
Detail of the move
12:15 – 2pm Laying of a laurel wreath at the statue of Augustus on the Fori Imperiali and blessing of the participants (Rite of Ancient Rome). Return to the Circus Maximus
3 – 5:30 Demonstrations of historical groups at the Circus Maximus
5:30 – 6:30pm The disappearance of the IX Legion and the construction of Hadrian’s Wall