In short

Vestalia was a Roman religious festival in honor of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth and the burning continuation of the sacred fire of Rome. it was held from 7 to


Vestalia, a mysterious festival in honor of Vesta

The temple of Vesta in which this ceremony took place was so secret that little was known about the course of this festival which, therefore, is a controversial issue. The dominant points of this cult of animistic nature were great simplicity, great cleanliness, great purity, such, from which the numerous purifications, the delicate precautions with which the holy water of the Numicius or the Tiber.

However, we knew that this festival, which was the main festival of the Vestal Virgins, also came to associate them with millers and bakers, trades linked to flour, undoubtedly because of one of their essential functions, which consisted of prepare mola salsa, flour used during sacrifices and religious ceremonies.

The Vestalia period began with the opening of the penus Vestae (Vesta aperitur), sanctuary of the temple of the goddess normally hidden by curtains: the penus was literally the pantry of the house, but also the place where the family kept the statues of the penates, and likewise in the penus, surrounded by mats, of the temple of Vesta were preserved, according to many authors, the penates of the Roman people, furniture necessary for ceremonies, sacred objects, figures, statuettes, talismans, reproductive emblems, accessible only to the Vestal Virgins and the Pontiffs, and carefully cleaned, the day before the Vestalia.

On this day, the matrons went on pilgrimage to the Aedes Vestae, which otherwise, according to Ovid, was never open. As long as the curtain remained open, the matrons were allowed to enter, in hair and bare feet, in memory of ancient times when the temple of Vesta was still surrounded by marshes, into the exterior of the penus Vestae, a place forbidden to the rest of the year to all and in particular to men, with the exception of the Pontifex Maximus, to place the ancient offerings of the Lares and the Penates, dishes placed on simple trays, to the goddess, in exchange for her blessing for them and their family. These offerings included the sacrifice of a fetal calf removed from its mother's womb.

On the last day (Vesta cluditur), defined by the acronym Q St DF (Quando Stercus Delatum Fas, that is to say "when the filth of the temple is removed", the penus Vestae was closed and the affliction replaced the The Flaminica Dialis observed mourning, and the temple was undergoing purification.

Subsequently, from the 2nd century BC. BC, Vestalia became a popular festival of bakeries and mills, where donkeys were celebrated. June 9 was a non-working holiday among the millers and in the bakeries, the millstones were garlanded, the donkeys crowned with flowers wore necklaces of bread. This is certainly linked to the mola salsa which, in the beginning, was distributed during the Vestalia. Meticulous rites had been planned for the preparation of these sacred cakes which were offered three times a year to the goddess Vesta on certain specific days.

Everything had to be done there by the hands of the Vestal Virgins, from the picking of the ears of corn made in a special field by the three oldest Vestal Virgins, to the preparation of the grains to reduce them into flour, intended to be kneaded with salt in sacred water, kept in small barrels, and for baking cakes in a special oven. This bread used "ad sacra", in Cerealia as in Vestalia, was called panis castus or mola casta: the term "castus" meant abstinence from sexual intercourse.

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On this day and for a week, the Romans celebrated Vestalia in honor of the goddess of the hearth. The temple of Vesta in which this ceremony took place was so secret that little is known about the progress of this festival. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #rome #vestalia