"lived to uphold the Cerealia"
Rossetti's painting of Proserpine - strikingly similar to Hardy's description of Tess
Public DomainRossetti's painting of Proserpine - strikingly similar to Hardy's description of Tess

Cerealia was a Roman festival celebrating the goddess Ceres. Its exact dates aren't known, but it is thought to have taken place over seven days in April.

Sources suggest that one of the rituals involved women clothed in white running with lighted torches to represent the goddess's search for her daughter Proserpina, who was abducted, raped, and taken to the underworld.