Vesta is the Roman Goddess of the sacred Hearth and equates with the Greek Goddess Hestia. She is always depicted with her face covered …hence only her dress is shown here. In roman times there were always 6 vestal virgins who were priestess of Vesta and took service in maintaining the sacred fire within the Temple of Vesta on the Forum Romanum. They undertook a vow of chastity ,and denied marriage. Some say they lay with men within the temple compounds as aspects of the goddess Vesta. The vestal virgins were selected from distinguished patrician families at an age from three to ten. A vestal virgin served thirty years. The first ten years as novices, then ten years as vestal virgins proper, and at last ten years as supervisors. After the thirty years of duty they were free, also to marry. Marrying a former vestal virgin was highly prestigious. As compensation for not being allowed to marry they had many privileges not given to ordinary Roman women. The vestals were not subject to the pater potestas of their father, they could handle their own property and write a legally binding testament, they had special seats in the front row at the games where women normally were relegated to the back seats and they were allowed to move around in the city in a carriage. Their persons were inviolable and sacred and their blood could not be spilt. If a person sentenced to death, met a vestal virgin on his way to the execution, he was automatically pardoned.
Her festival day is the same day as my birthday(hence the birthday balloons!) … a big one this year! …but not for some months yet…..not sure why she has appeared just now .