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CONTRIBUTOR: LMS on 8/29/2017
Meaning & History
Nundina presides over the dies lustricus, the purification day when the child was given a name (praenomen). This occurred on the eighth day for girls and the ninth day for boys, a difference Plutarch
explains by noting that "it is a fact that the female grows up, and attains maturity and perfection before the male." Until the umbilical cord fell off, typically on the seventh day, the baby was regarded as "more like a plant than an animal," as Plutarch expresses it. The ceremony of the dies lustricus was thus postponed until the last tangible connection to the mother's body was dissolved, and the child was seen "as no longer forming part of the mother, and in this way as possessing an independent existence which justified its receiving a name of its own and therefore a fate of its own." The day was celebrated with a family feast.