For the past ten years, Saint Anselm students have had the pleasure of witnessing and participating in Floralia, an annual celebration organized by the Classics Society. Always held during the final weekend of April, this year’s Floralia occurred on the Alumni Quad on Saturday, April 27, from 1 PM to 4 PM.
The event takes its name from an ancient Roman festival dedicated to Flora, a goddess associated with spring. As such, it was the perfect time for students to celebrate the warmer weather, the approaching end of classes, and the promise of summer.
As Floralia X marked the tenth year running for the event, it was a particularly special day for the Classics Society. The club states that they wanted to make this year’s festivities “bigger and better than ever.” Given the variety of events at Floralia X, it would seem the Classics Society achieved their goal.
As President of the Classics Society, Saint Anselm senior Harrison Morin ran this year’s celebration. To kick off the event, Morin says, “As always, we had our inaugural chariot race followed closely by the pentathlon.” The pentathlon includes different events such as discus throwing, a high jump, a sprint, and a relay. Afterwards, everyone was invited to try the variety of free food that was available. Banquet items across Floralia’s ten years have included homemade pear butter, Pompeii bread, a roasted pig, and more. Morin states that this year’s event “incorporated new Roman recipes so, even for people who have attended Floralia in the past, there will still be new food to sample and enjoy.” After the banquet, Jillian Heatley directed a rendition of Euripides’ Greek tragedy, Medea. There were also free t-shirts given to those who attended the event.
When asked which part of the celebration he most enjoys, Morin warmly endorses the chariot races. He says, “I think it’s really cool that we are able to provide students with actual chariots in which to race and compete on.” As remarkable as it is to witness, he says it’s even more impressive to ride one.
In explaining the origins of the name Floralia, Morin says that the ancient event celebrated fertility, beauty, pleasure, and the coming of spring. He goes on to say, “This event calls back to the ancient Roman festival through the games we host, such as the pentathlon and the chariot race; the outdoor nature of the event; and our banquet of authentic Roman dishes that would have been served around the time of the festival.”
When asked about why the event was started, Morin says, “Floralia was started 10 years ago by the Saint Anselm Classics Society in order to broaden school awareness for Classics and Classical Studies. What started out as a way for Classics students to indulge in Roman cuisine and festivities has now evolved into a campus-wide festival that many people, even outside of Classics, love to attend.” In this way, Floralia is not only a fun celebration of spring, but an event that brings well-deserved attention to an area of study that is too often underrated. Floralia brings people together by having a wide range of activities, with something to appeal to everyone.
It certainly seems like the celebration has gained traction on campus, and will continue to be an installment in the college’s annual events. Morin agrees, “I would very much like to see Floralia continue for ten more years and continue to live on.” If you missed this year’s Floralia, be on the lookout for Floralia XI next April.