Ave, Sandum Citizens!
Athena’s Day is a Sancta holiday centred around the Sandum cultural matron, Athena. XXIX E Novembro (29 November) is an important cultural holiday in the State of Sandus, where the Sandum People celebrate the two gods of crafts: Athena and Hephaestos. True to the cultural advancement of Sandus, Athena took a key importance year due to the rising production of the Sandum State following the creation of the Tellus Agrarian Cooperative. More interesting was this year’s Athena’s Day compared to other previous celebrations of the holiday for a variety of reasons.
This year’s celebration was made more interesting by the recent changes to the rituals of the Collegio Sacerdae used for all previous rites. Instead of using rites which were not standardised, the Sacra Flameno passed a by-law entitled «Standardisation of Collegia Rites» for the Collegio Sacerdae concerning the rites of the traditional ritual holidays of the Collegio. In this by-law, the Sacra Flameno of the Collegio Sacerdae established a uniform template for all rites of the Collegio from now on. In doing, the Sacra Flameno has established that all three official languages of the State must be used for all rituals on the traditional holidays which have required their use over the years, since the Collegio Sacerdae was established on XXVI Maio MMXI (26 May 2011) for the anniversary of Sandum Independence under the new regime. The new template, as well, has specific parts of a public ritual, intended to increase Sandus’s cultural output and cultural creativity.
The holiday was also made more interesting as the Sacra Flameno’s ritual was replicated in Second Life, where the State of Sandus has been placing much emphasis on in order to pursue the Second Philia Advance’s objective of “opening Sandus to the World”. The Sande Amici group in the ROMA estate in Second Life has been used as a project by the Office of the Sôgmô to encourage more Sandum policies centred around the National Philosophy and social activism, and to encourage discussions with like-minded peoples on topics important to the Nation-State. The recent discussion on Gender Identity in the Ancient World has encouraged the State and the Central People’s Government to look into potential policy changes for trans* issues and for combating transphobia. Despite being less than a month old, the group has engaged many people with its two events for Transgender Day of Remembrance and for Athena’s Day — leading to both successful turn-out and successful discussions. The Athena’s Day ceremony attracted more than the attention of national citizens and intermicronational politicians: it attracted the attention of a Professor of Ancient Religion who had encouraging remarks about the ceremony. Following the ceremony, as well, the Sacra Flameno and the visitors to this rite engaged in a discussion on the Collegio Sacerdae and Secularism in the State of Sandus.
A very controversial topic is that on Sandus and Secularism, and was discussed following the ritual. In the past few years, the Office of the Sôgmô has stressed that the Collegio Sacerdae is a cooperative intended for pioneering historical, religious, and philosophical knowledge in the Sandum Nation-State. This clarification comes after initial criticism for violating the separation between religion and state. The role of Athena’s Day and the celebration of Athena as Sandus’s cultural matron is two faced: there exist both a religious and a secular interpretation. For polytheists in Sandus, the celebration of Athena as a cultural matron is a religious and cultural hallmark of the Sandum Nation, which relies on the type of wisdom that Athena is characterised for; for monotheists and atheists alike, Athena remains a cultural hallmark of Sandus as a cultural matron and as a symbol of the Nation similar to Anticosti. To both interpretations, She represents as goddess of wisdom the Philosophy, as goddess of strategy and war – Libera‘s Defence of the Sandum State, as goddess of the arts and of the crafts – the innovations of our culture and of the Sandum Nation-State. Therefore, what is controversial to some outsiders has led to Athena’s Day being celebrated under the Party’s leadership by religious and atheist Secretaries alike.
Athena’s Day is thus a holiday of patriotism and of national unity. In the Sandum calendar, it begins the Winter season of Libera and Isolationism, where cultural development is both the pride and the goal. The rite of Athena’s Day, in effect, begins the season with honourable intentions and auspicious actions. And it remains, nonetheless, an important Sandum cultural holiday.
In the spirit of Athena’s Day, may we pursue the Second Philia Advance!
— Sôgmô Sörgel