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(usually Mater Matuta). An old Italian goddess of dawn and of birth, also goddess of harbours and of the sea, and hence identified with the Greek Leucothea (q.v.). In her temple at Rome in the Forum Boarium, on the 11th of June, the Matralia, or festival of mothers, was celebrated in her honour by the women of Rome; no slaves were admitted to it, and only a matron who had not been married before was allowed to place a wreath on the statue of the goddess. The women first prayed for the well-being of their nephews and nieces, and then for that of their own children. This custom was referred to the myth of Ino-Leucothea, who tended Dionysus, the son of her sister Semelé.

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