10 Facts about the Sandum Armilustrium

The Sôgmô and the Party Secretary are celebrating the Armilustrium this evening, and Sandus is all together getting ready for the holiday! Here are some 10 fun facts about Sandus’s most important cultural holiday:

  1. The holiday is really ancient. The holiday has been celebrated since at least Roman times, and dates far back into Roman prehistory. By the time of Augustus’s death in 14 CE, the holiday had lost the importance of its more archaic rituals—but the holiday seems to originally refer to the end of the military campaign season.
  2. The name means “purification of weapons.” The holiday’s name, Armilustrium, comes from the Latin phrase arma lustro, or “I purify the arms.” A lustrum was a Roman religious ceremony which ritually purified an object, in this case weapons. But in other lustra, the Roman people were purified.
  3. There are no weapons purified today. In Sandus, the Armilustrium has been transformed into a pacifist holiday. Instead, we purify and wash our books as symbols of the weapons of yesteryears.
  4. The holiday is NOT Sandus’s version of American Thanksgiving. The holiday closest to Thanksgiving is Athena’s Day (29 November). The Armilustrium is more similar to the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, or zhōngqiū jiē (中秋節). Sandus even has similar traditions, such as a festive meal with friends, family, and chosen family and the cleaning of the house.
  5. Sandus has celebrated this holiday since 2012. That is only a year after the founding of the State of Sandus, and three years after the creation of Sandus as a micronation. The only cultural holiday with a longer history is Remembrance Day (9 May).
  6. The holiday was first celebrated so that Sandus would become more isolationist during the winter months. The holiday originally was celebrated to mark an end to a diplomatic season, much like the role of the Ancient Roman holiday. After the Armilustrium, Sandum diplomacy would typically cease because of the school year and more business was done internally.
  7. Baklava has been traditionally served for the holiday since 2013. The pastry’s honey is meant to recall the end of summer and the earth tones are meant to remind eaters of autumnal colours. Interestingly, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival has moon cakes, while we have baklava!
  8. In 2012, the Sôgmô attempted a croquembouche for the holiday. The French pastry was too difficult and technical for the Sôgmô to make, however, and ended up being a mess. Hope still remains to make the croquembouche a traditional food item for the holiday!
  9. State media has broadcast the holiday since 2012, though some years Channum Unum replays old ceremonies of the holiday. This year the holiday is expected to be broadcast live from Quercus Candida at l’Appartement du Sôgmô.
  10. Adam von Friedeck, Party Secretary of the CPS and King of Überstadt, has flown out from Überstadt to take part this year. This marks the first time two Sandum citizens will celebrate the holiday together, and hopes have increased to have more citizens visit with the Sôgmô for future holidays. The Royal Family will also fly out later this week to be with the Sôgmô during the holiday.