fenced field


In rural areas, the Liberalia (March 17) was a festival that was connected to Liber Pater, the god responsible for protecting seed. (Over time this feast evolved to include his consort Libera.) The Roman rustics hung masks in trees and carried a large phallus across the fields to insure fertility and to ward off evil. The worshippers indulged loudly and openly in obscene songs and licentious gaiety, and when the procession halted, the most respectable of the matrons ceremoniously crowned the head of the phallus with a garland. These processions were finally suppressed by the Roman senate.

In Rome, the Liberalia was the traditional day for boys who had come of age to take off the bulla and the toga praetexta of childhood and to don the toga virilis of manhood. (In imperial times, according to Platner, this ceremony took place in the Temple of Mars Ultor.) Liber had no temple of his own in Rome, but he was part of the Aventine Triad and shared a temple there with Ceres and Libera. His priestesses were typically older women. On the occasion of the Liberalia, they made special cakes (libi ) of oil and honey which passing devotees would have them sacrifice on portable altars on their behalf.

Here's an oscillum depicting Liber Pater for you to display anywhere you seek his blessing.

Liber Pater

Consult these resources for more information.

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