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The Vulcanalia was the annual festival held August 23 in his honor.

His Greek counterpart is Hephaestus, the god of fire and smithery.

In Etruscan religion, he is identified with Sethlans.

Vulcan belongs to the most ancient stage of Roman religion: Varro, the ancient Roman scholar and writer, citing the Annales Maximi, records that king Titus Tatius dedicated altars to a series of deities among which Vulcan is mentioned.

More recently this etymology has been taken up by Gérard Capdeville who finds a continuity between Cretan Minoan god Velchanos and Etruscan Velchans.

The Minoan god's identity would be that of a young deity, master of fire and companion of the Great Goddess.

Christian Guyonvarc'h has proposed the identification with the Irish name Olcan (Ogamic Ulccagni, in the genitive).

Vasily Abaev compares it with the Ossetic Wærgon, a variant of the name of Kurdalægon, the smith of the Nart saga.

Since the name in its normal form Kurdalægon is stable and has a clear meaning (kurd smith on of the family Alaeg name of one of the Nartic families), this hypothesis has been considered unacceptable by Dumezil.

Vulcan became associated like his Greek counterpart with the constructive use of fire in metalworking.

A fragment of a Greek pot showing Hephaestus found at the Volcanal has been dated to the 6th century BC, suggesting that the two gods were already associated at this date.

The Vulcanalia was part of the cycle of the four festivities of the second half of August (Consualia on August 21, Vulcanalia on 23, Opiconsivia on 25 and Vulturnalia on 27) related to the agrarian activities of that month and in symmetric correlation with those of the second half of July (Lucaria on July 19 and 21, Neptunalia on 23 and Furrinalia on 25).