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Vesta was the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family. She was symbolized by the sacred flame that burned at her hearth and temples. Every Roman city had a public hearth sacred to Vesta, with a fire that was never allowed to go out.

On the first day of Vestalia festivities, the penus Vestae (the curtained sanctum sanctorum of her temple) was opened for women to offer their sacrifices. This was the only time during the year that this was done, the rest of the year the penus Vestae remained closed.

Vesta, in all dwellings of men and immortals
Yours is the highest honor, the sweet wine offered
First and last at the feast, poured out to you duly.
Never without you can gods or mortals hold banquet.

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