Today marks the beginning of Parentalia - a Roman festival of the dead for the purpose of honoring family ancestors. The festival began at dawn on February 13th with private ceremonies and ended with the public Feralia on February 21st.
The Parentalia was essentially domestic and familial. There were sacred offerings of flower-garlands, wheat, salt, wine-soaked bread and violets. These offerings were made to the "shades of the dead" called manes, or di manes - (meaning "the good ones") at the family tombs of the extramural necropolis.
The purpose of these ritual sacrifices was to strengthen the mutual obligations and protective ties between the living and the dead. It served as a yearly renewal of the rite of burial. Families gathered among the tombs of loved ones and at the family shrines within their own homes and made offerings or sacrifices of grain and wine tothe di parentes (the deified ancestors).
During this festival all other temples remained closed, weddings were forbidden, no official business was done, and all Romans were expected to give offerings to the deceased at the necropolis located outside the city walls.
Collected from various sources.