Cerealia was a 7-day holiday celebrated in ancient Rome in honor of the goddess Ceres. In Rome, this was the primary festival of Ceres and was accompanied by the Ludi Ceriales or “Games of Ceres” in the Circus Maximus. During the Games, Ceres’ search for her lost daughter Proserpina was represented by women clothed in white, running about with lighted torches.
The Romans saw Ceres as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature. Ceres daughter, Porsepina, is an ancient Roman goddess whose cult, myths and mysteries were based on those of Greek Persephone and her mother Demeter, the Greek goddess of grain and agriculture. The Romans identified Proserpina with their native fertility goddess Libera, daughter of the grain and agriculture goddess Ceres and wife to Liber.
Modern artistic representations of Ceres show her carrying wheat sheaves with the heads of the grain pointed toward the sky but original depictions of her showed her with the heads pointed toward the ground to promote fertility.