Date(s) - 12/04/2021 - 19/04/2021
Games (Ludi) in honour of Ceres. These games focused on the establishment of a healthy agricultural season and fertility. The priest, flamen Cerialis likley played a key role in the ceremonies. Ceres was associated with the cults od Tellus, Liber and Libera and corresponded to the Eleusinian deities. Ceres’ main temple on the Aventine was the main administrative center of the plebeians. In this temple was the headquarters of the plebeian aediles and contained their archives. During this festival, ceremonies started at this temple and then moved to the Circus Maximus as the starting point of the chariot races. Ovid tells farmers that Ceres delights in offerings of spelt and salt (perhaps made up into sacrificial cakes, mola salsa) and of incense on old hearths. This celebration of Ceres was also referred to by Virgil ‘when the clear spring has come then let all your country folk worship Ceres and offer milk, honey and wine, and for good luck carry the luck-bringing sacrificial victim three times round the young crops.’ We know nothing of the ceremonies in her temple, but at the Games white robes were be worn.
Here the most striking cult act was performed: foxes, with burning brands tied to their tails, were let loose in the Circus Maximus.
The original purpose of this rite is explained by Ovid suggests a fox was ritually burnt, perhaps as a warning to other vermin to keep away. In the evening plebeian families could exchange hospitality and dine together as the patricians had done at the end of the Megalesia.