Matralia

Matralia

June 11
The Matralia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of Mater Matuta, who is often confused with the Greek dawn goddess, Leucothea. Modern authorities describe Mater Matuta, who has no mythology but whose cult was widespread in ancient times, as a goddess of the dawn's light and of childbirth—the dawn being a lucky time to give birth. She was also a deity of matrons, and only matrons and freeborn women were allowed to participate in the festival held at her shrine in the round temple known as the Forum Boarium.
Not much is known about what went on during the Matralia, but it appears that only the wife of a first marriage was allowed to decorate the image of the goddess. No female slaves were allowed in the temple—except for one, who was driven out after being slapped on the face. The women offered prayers primarily on behalf of their nieces and nephews; their own children were considered to be of secondary importance. They made offerings of flowers and often arrived at the temple carrying their relatives' children in their arms.
SOURCES:
ClassDict-1984, p. 360
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 693
FestRom-1981, p. 150
OxYear-1999, p. 244
RomFest-1925, p. 154
References in periodicals archive ?
Al contrario, la festa dei Matralia (11 giugno) mostra appieno la difficile integrazione delle schiave nel tessuto sociale e la scarsa reputazione di cui godevano.
Sobre esta divinidad y el analisis simbolico de su fiesta, Matralia, vid.
138, en el calendario, y con caracter de fiestas publicas, figuraban casos como los de Matronalia, Matralia, las Nonae Caprotinae, las de Ceres, Pudicitia, Venus y Fortuna Muliebris.