Idvs Ritual

(Also available in English)

While the Lares and Di Penates are honored every day in the pious Roman household, the Idvs (celebrated on either the 13th or 15th day of the month; see the Calendar) are days when a more elaborate ceremony should be observed. The Idvs are sacred to Iuppiter Optimus Maximus (Jupiter Best and Greatest).

The Idvs ritual is usually celebrated early in the morning at sunrise by the head of the household (usually the eldest male). If circumstances (or family tradition) dictate, it may be performed at noon or before sunset. No sexual activity is permitted prior to the rite. The performer of the rite does not break his fast prior to performing the rite (if celebrated at sunrise); only a little tea or coffee is permitted.

Before the rite the Paterfamilias washes his hands (having also previously bathed or showered beforehand) while saying the prayer for ablution. He wears a clean white Tunica and Toga. Draped in his Toga he veils his head (Capite Velato) in preparation for the rite. This is done to prevent him from seeing any ill omens during the performance of the rite. The ritual presented below assumes the Lararium is to the North. When (adoratio) is indicated, one raises the right hand to the lips, kisses the fingertips of the right hand, and then extends the hand out in offering. The body should also be swung (twisted) once, left to right, so that the hand is moved sideways in a "general offering" motion. Whenever the burning of incense is indicated, frankincense would be quite appropriate.

Facing north the Paterfamilias lights the Lucerna (sacred lamp or candle) and burns some preliminary incense in the turibulum (a metal bowl in which incense etc. may be burned) designated for "incense only" in front of the Lararium before the rite in order to purify the place. The Paterfamilias incenses himself also. He lights the charcoal in the other turibulum.

In front of the Lararium the Paterfamilias calms his breathing, and meditates silently for a moment to "center" himself.

"Salve Iane Pater Matutine (adoratio). Admitte me (touch the right hand to the breast) coram numina lucentia."

Incense is then burned in the turibulum to Ianvs, God of doorways, who will open the path between the mortal world and that of the Gods. The Paterfamilias faces north.

"Salve Iuppiter Optime Maxime Pater Omnipotens Rex Deorum hominumque (adoratio). Sive quo alio nomine appelari voluveris si pietae mereor da mihi (the breast is touched with the right hand) domo familiae nostrae prosperitatem ac felicitatem in opere nostro."

Incense is then burned in the turibulum to Ivppiter Optimvs Maximvs, King of the Gods.

"Ita Est!"

The Paterfamilias faces east.

"Salve __________ (insert the names and titles of the patron deities of the gens) (adoratio). Te precor uti sis volens mihi (the breast is touched with the right hand) propitius. Tibi offero hoc thus."

Incense is then burned in the turibulum to the patron Gods and Goddesses of the Gens.

"Ita est!"

The Paterfamilias faces north.

"Salve Lar Familiaris (adoratio). Salvete Di Penates (adoratio). Salve Geni (the forehead is touched with the right hand). Patris Familias (adoratio). Salve Vesta Mater (adoratio). Vobis offero puro corde hunc panem farreum et vos omnes date mihi (the breast is touched with the right hand) domo, familiae nostrae valetudinem ac felicitatem in opere nostro."

A small piece of far cake sprinkled with drops of wine, and incense are offered.

"Ita est!

"Ivppiter Pater et vos Dii Invocati, si quidquam fuit vobis ingratum in stipe a me (the breast is touched with the right hand) oblata, accipite hoc piaculum."

Incense is then burned in the turibulum as a piaculum (atonement) to Ivppiter and to all the Gods in the event that something had been wrong or for any unintentional mistakes in the rite.

"Ita vultis ita est!"

The Paterfamilias turns south in a clockwise direction, assumes the adoratio posture, and a closing prayer is spoken.

"Quod bonum faustum felix fortunatum salutareque sit mihi (the breast is touched with the right hand) Genti ________ (insert gens name) ac nationi Novae Romae Universae. Ita est!"

The Paterfamilias facing north once more at the Lararium, touching the altar.


The adoratio posture is once more assumed, turning the body from right to left as it is done. The flame of the Lucerna or candle is extinguished. The rite is ended.

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