Demeter was the ancient Greek goddess of corn and grain. Her Roman name is Ceres, and I always teach my students to remember that it sounds like "cereal" (which is, of course, made of corn and grain!). Demeter is a daughter of Kronos and Rhea, one of the five children who were swallowed whole by Kronos and saved by their youngest brother, Zeus. She is considered to be a tragic goddess because she must watch her daughter, Persephone (the goddess of spring), "die" every year, returning to the underworld for four months, and this explains why we have winter. Demeter mourns for her daughter, and this is why the earth freezes over. Dionysus, the god of wine and the vine, is the other tragic god of the earth, though Demeter is considered to be older than he is because the ancient Greeks cultivated grain before they made wine. She had a very special festival dedicated to her called the Eleusinian Mysteries: it would take place around harvest time and last for several days. We don't know much about what rites and rituals were performed because they were kept so secret and never written down.