The title Lucina was given to the goddess Juno in her aspect as an attendant
at childbirth. Juno herself was closely associated with the life of women.
As Sororia she was the patronness of girls' maturity, and under various titles
(Juno Pronuba, Juno Iuga, etc.) she was the protector of marriage. The title
Lucina may have originated from "lucus" (grove); according to Pliny a temple
in a grove on the Esquiline Hill in Rome was dedicated to her on March 1,
375 B.C.E., and Vestal Virgins made offerings of locks of hair on an ancient
tree nearby. Another possibile derivation of the title associates it with
light, for Juno Lucina was thought to open a baby's eyes to the light after
the darkness of the womb.
Servius Tullius is credited with the practice of depositing a coin in the
temple of Juno Lucina at the birth of a child. On March 1, the anniversary
of the dedication of her temple, Juno Lucina was honored in the Matronalia
festival. Only women could participate in this festival, and they were required to
untie knots in their clothing and leave their hair unbound as symbolic
representations of deliverance from the hazards of childbirth.