This is the first day of the
Lemuria, the nine-day feast of the dead. On this day the Vestals would prepare
the sacred mola salsa (salt cake) from the first ears of wheat of the season.
May is named after the goddess Maia, the wife of Mars. May is a month of purification
and religious ceremony in honor of the dead, and as such it is considered
a very inauspicious time for marriage .