Date(s) - 07/06/2021 - 14/06/2021
The unusual shape of the Temple of Vesta retained the form of the early Roman huts. It contained no statue of Vesta, but a fire which must never be allowed to go out in the inner sanctuary. This inner sanctuary was curtained off. This sanctuary could only be entered by the Vestal Virgins and the Pontifex Maximus. Here were kept the sacred elements used in various rituals: the ashes for the Parilia, the Palladium, and two small statuettes of the Penates of the Roman People.
From June 7th the temple was open to worshipping women for eight days, however, they were excluded from this innermost sanctum. Women also had to go barefoot and wear simple clothing. During this time they would bring food offerings to Vesta and in return have their families blessed by Vesta.
During this time the Vestals made mola salsa. First they had to fetch water from a sacred spring, the spring of Egeria or the spring of Juturna. The water must not be set down on the way, since contact with the earth might destroy its virtue: it was therefore carried in narrow-based vessels which could not be put down without spilling. The salt also had to be specially prepared: brine was brought from a salt pan and then pounded in a mortar and baked in ajar; the resultant lump was cut up with an iron saw as required. With this the Vestals salted the grain or flour, using the ears of spelt that they had gathered on 7,9 and 11 May, and had threshed and ground. They then made this into the mola salsa, offered it to Vesta as well as stored it for use throughout the year.
The time became a holiday for bakers and millers, and Ovid says that both the millstones and the asses that turned them were garlanded with violets and hung with small loaves.
On June 9th a donkey was sacrificed to Vesta. It was first crowned with garlands of flowers and bits of bread. Ovid says that donkeys were adorned with necklaces of bread-bits in memory of the myth where Vesta is nearly violated by Priapus. In that myth, it is the untimely bray of a donkey that startles Priapus causing him to flee.