The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Celebrate Fornax and the festival of Fornacalia, Feb. 17th

jcking's picture

Celebrate Fornax and the festival of Fornacalia, Feb. 17th


A Roman goddess, who is said to have been worshipped that she might ripen the corn, and prevent its being burnt baking in the oven (fornax.) Her festival, the Fornacalia, was announced by the curio maximus. (Ov. Fast. ii. 525, &c.; Festus, s. v. Fornacalia.) Hartung (die Relig. d. Röm. vol. ii. p. 107) considers her to be identical with Vesta. (Dict. of Ant. s. v. Fornacalia.)

Fornax, is the Roman goddess of breadmaking. She held power over the ovens, and it was She who made sure that a fire would not spread and destroy the home. The Fornacalia or Feast of the Ovens is held in Her honor. In earliest times, each family brought an unbaked loaf to the common oven that served the baking needs of the small community. As communities grew larger, She was honored with an offering of bread and a communal feast.

She was invoked by the farmers so She might ripen the grain and prevent it from being burnt while baking in the oven.  She has sometimes been regarded as identical with Vesta, but at all events She was the goddess of the furnace.  She was the patroness of bakers.

To celebrate  this goddess, bake some bread on this day to share with your friends and family.  Also scatter some crumbs to the birds with your wishes for health, prosperity, and a happy home.

JeremyCherfas's picture

I can't bake tomorrow, but I have some plans for the weekend. How will you be celebrating? Let's share our efforts here.