Lupercalia: Celebrate the Pagan Valentine’s Day in a Modern Way
What inspired the modern Valentine’s Day? Sure, there was a Saint involved, but where did it originally come from? Lupercalia, an Ancient Roman festival for fertility and purification. Some call it the Pagan Valentine’s Day. Don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day and get sucked into the commercialism of it all? Celebrate Lupercalia and have a bloody blast!!!
What is Lupercalia?
Lupercalia is an ancient Roman festival of fertility and purification. It’s celebrated from February 14th to the 15th and predates Valentine’s Day by centuries! Every year, the ancient Romans would perform rituals and then throw parties all in the name of purification. To purify the city of Rome on this festival guaranteed a good crop, plenty of pregnant ladies, and overall good health and happy people. Some sources suggest Lupercalia predates even ancient Rome! The name is linked to the wolf (lupus) and therefore the priesthood, the Luperci, were the Brotherhood of the Wolf.
Ancient Lupercalia Customs: The Hott and the Horrendous
In addition to being linked to the wolf, Lupercalia was a “breastfeeding” festival and tied to the founders of Rome – Romulus and Remus and a nursing-goddess Rumina. Our readers know we don’t candy coat things. We’re going to look at the hott Lupercalia customs of the ancient Romans and also address the disturbing ones. Don’t worry, we’ll warn you beforehand!
Know that we don’t support or condone any kind of ritual sacrifice, but we are including it here for historical purposes ONLY. Nearly every ancient culture sacrificed animals at some point in time but that doesn’t make it right.
The Sacrificial Custom (Warning!)
We know most ancient cultures sacrificed animals and other things to their gods to ensure various ostentatious results. The ancient Romans were no different. Every Lupercalia, the priesthood (called the Luperci) was summoned to a cave with the Lupercal altar to sacrifice a goat and a dog. Ensuring a good bounty for the year. Then the priests were anointed with the goat’s blood on their foreheads, made whips from the goat’s hide, and took to the city.
The Hott (Albeit Wild) Fertility Customs
So Lupercalia, being an ancient fertility festival, was very much a day when the ancient Romans celebrated sexuality. One particular Lupercalia tradition involved the young priests and noblemen running through the city streets (ahem, naked) with whips. Anyone they saw they would strike. City visitors claim the women welcomed the whipping and some even “bared their skin”. This custom ensured good fertility for the year – procreation and produce – because it supposedly scared off the evil spirits. In addition, on the Pagan Valentine’s Day, there was feasting, love-making, and debauchery of different kinds.
6 Ways to Celebrate Lupercalia, the Pagan Valentine’s Day
Clearly we’re not going to engage in the brutal ancient customs of the Romans, BUT we can celebrate Lupercalia in our own modern way. This is particularly a fun holiday to celebrate if you dislike Valentine’s Day, don’t have a lover, or just want to try something different. Mix and match or choose just one. But have a fun Lupercalia!
1. Cleansing & Purging
Lupercalia is in the month of February, and it was also called dies Februatus by the ancient Romans. Februatus translates to “purge”. Therefore, if you don’t want to celebrate the pagan Valentine’s Day with love-making and feasting, make it a day of cleansing and purging. Get rid of what no longer serves you and then cleanse the negative vibrations via smudging and cleansing ritual baths.
2. Feast on the Pagan Valentine’s Day!
Whether you have a love interest or not, Lupercalia is about celebrating what we have on this earthly plane. It’s the perfect day to throw a feast! Make a big, gluttonous dinner and invite friends over to eat, drink and be merry!
3. Drink Wine
The Romans were all about their wine. If you want to do Lupercalia right, you gotta drink the wine, folks! Red is best to represent love and passion. Be sure to make a toast to the ancient Romans and a fertile life before drinking the wine. Clink your glasses together to scare off the bad spirits lurking in the wine!
4. Make Love
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. OR when it’s Lupercalia, do as the Romans do. And make love! It doesn’t have to be in the streets. In fact, we recommend finding a private place. Public indecency is a crime nowadays. 😉
5. Fertility Rituals
Trying to conceive? Or maybe you have no desire for a baby at all. Either way, fertility isn’t just about conceiving children. It also relates to prosperity and growth of nearly any other goal in life: career success, your passions like art, etc. Lupercalia is a powerful day to do fertility spells and rituals of any kind!
6. Wear Red and White
So, you’re going to love this. This is SO heavy metal. On Lupercalia, the Pagan Valentine’s Day, if you can’t do anything else – wear red and white. Why? Not for Saint Valentine, but to represent the blood of sacrifice and the white of milk. This is the origins of Valentine’s Day colors!