Strenia is the goddess of prosperity, abundance, pleasure, and new beginnings. Goddess of the New Year, Strenia presided over the gift-giving incorporated into Roman New Year’s festivities. (This tradition of gift-giving was eventually transferred to Christmas.) Strenia is associated with sticks, boughs, and branches. The laurel boughs which are her emblem were known as strenne, but the word eventually came to mean all New Year’s gifts. The sacred twigs carried in procession on the Via Sacra on the first day of January, Janus’ month, were obtained from Strenia’s grove.
Vestiges of rituals associated with Strenia survive in the Italian tradition of giving a New Year’s gift of a calendar and some mistletoe: these gifts are called strenne. In France, New Year’s gifts are called etrennes.
Bay laurel boughs
Decorate with bay laurel and palm branches hung with dates, figs, and gilded fruit. Don’t forget the mistletoe!
Give her nicely wrapped gifts.
- Roman Mythology
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.