RT: Our Carnival Heritage: The Roots of Carnival THE GREEKS #Carnival2013 #mardigras #nola The Greeks celebrated Dionysus, the god of wine and drama. Lots and lots of wine. And drama. And more wine so they could get through all the drama. Even the grape vines got wine, sprinkled onto the pruned ends to ensure a bountiful harvest for the next celebration. Shortly afterwards, however, the festival of Februalia would begin, a month-long period of sacrifice and atonement to the god of purification, Februus, who lived in the Underworld. Februus was a god the Greeks "borrowed" from the conquered Sabines, and a very popular god indeed. So popular the Romans named the second month for him. Eventually, Februus was promoted to King of the Underworld and immediately changed his name to Pluto. This celebration closely resembles the beginnings of modern Lent. Much later, when the Roman and Greek traditIons began to mix, Pluto got his own spin-off, Februus tossed on a frock and became Juno Februa, who was now a goddess of love and, of course, fertility. As Juno Februa, the festival took on many of the characteristics of our Valentine's Day, and very well may qualify Februus as the first Carnival cross-dresser. Next up, the Christians adapt the ancient rituals, and Europeans make their contribution to the ceremonies.