Monday, February 28, 2011

Matronalia: Festival of Women and Childbirth

Celebrated on March 1st, Matronalia was dedicated to the goddess Juno Luciana, Roman goddess of women and childbirth. It was a day that children gave gifts to their mothers, young girls prayed to be married, and women celebrated their marriages and prayed for many healthy pregnancies and healthy children.

In a culture where Roman women wore their hair up, this was the day that woman let down their hair and wore loose clothes, devoid of knots and ties, to invite the goddess to make their wombs loose so they could easily conceive a child.

Children gave gifts to their mothers and were required to pay formal visits to their mothers, enough so that even servants were given time off to pay that visit. Husbands gave gifts to their wives, and women were treated like queens, if only for a day.

This festival eventually evolved into the European Mother's Day, shifting to the fourth Sunday in lent. It became a festival where men brought bouquets of flowers to their mothers to honor them.

As a woman who has recently lost two children, this will definitely be a festival I will partake in. May Juno bless all of the other baby loss mothers out there as well and bring them what they so desire, their take home baby.

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