Today begins the Vestalia in honor of the Goddess Vesta. This was an eight day festival that began around June 7th and lasted until June 15th. The Vestalia was basically a cleansing festival in which the temple, the Vestal Virgins and the women attending were purified. For this festival the Vestals made the sacred Mola Salsa Wafer which was used as an offering and looked upon as a bloodless sacrifice. These were made using parched spelt, which was a type of wheat, and water from a holy spring. The water was carried in consecrated jugs and was not permitted to come into contact with the earth between the spring and the baking process as this was seen to take away its sacred nature. The wafers were baked and then cut into slices as offerings to Vesta.
During the Vestalia only women were allowed to enter the temple. Once inside they removed their shoes and made simple food offerings to the Goddess. On the last day of the festival a cleansing of the shrine took place. This is when the ash pit, where the ashes from the altar were put, was cleaned out.
The Goddess Vesta was seen as the divine personification of fire. She was the hearth fire in the homes of Romans as well as the sacred fire in her temple. To honor the Vestalia, light a fire in a fireplace or light candles. Clean and purify your home and yourself. You may also make food offerings to this Goddess or make/buy some bread to represent the Mola Salsa Wafer.
Enjoy the purifying festival Vestalia!