Thursday is February 14th Valentine’s Day. We could talk about the various saints the day possibly stands for, the way Cupid has wandered in to represent the day or we could talk about streaking and hitting people with goat skins to ensure fertility, and drive away evil. Like there was ever a choice.
It’s called, Lupercalia. Having very little to do with Valentine’s day except for shared dates it was quite the celebration, and took some time to stamp out, even after people weren’t quite sure what it was celebrating it still kept going. Now that’s a sign of a good party.
What is Lupercalia you may be asking? An old Roman festival of Fertility among other things that fell between February 13-15. Perfect timing. It was one of the last festivals to end. And as many things it has been associated with a variety of gods, and symbols. Including the god, Faunus the Roman equivalent of Pan. The part of the festival that caught my attention was the idea of naked, or mostly naked participants running around the city, hitting willing participants with goat skins, originally a shepherd festival women would hope to be stuck to become more fertile, remove curses, and bad luck.
The festival had quite a few other steps, starting in Rome, where the She-wolf cared for Romulus and Remus the founders of the city, there would be the sacrifice of a goat and dog, before feasting, and then ritual running around.
Marsha can usually be found, roaming twitter as @1geek2craftall or blogging at One Geek To Craft Them All. It’s a very dangerous business of walking out of your door, you may run into half naked men with goat skins.