Festival of Liberalia
(Roman) Ancient: XVI Kal. Apr.
This is a festival for Liber Pater (Father Liber), a god of fertility and especially of the vine, often identified with Dionysos, and for Libera Mater (Mother Libera) who brings fertility to women (as Liber does to men). They are closely associated with Ceres, and the three correspond to Iakkhos, Persephone and Demeter, respectively.
On this day old women act as priestesses for these Gods; they sit by the side of the street and sell liba (offering cakes) made of oil and honey, which they will offer to the Gods on their small altars. There is a procession bearing a phallus to the market place (cf. the City Dionysia, c. Mar. 24), where a virtuous matron lays a wreath upon it. There may also be games on this day, and the “coming of age” for boys is celebrated on this day.