Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ward off the Wolves on St. Valentine's Day!


Valentine’s Day can be traced back to pagan times in ancient Rome. On February 14th they had a holiday to honor Juno, the mythical goddess of women and marriage. The following day was the Fertility Festival called the Feast of Lupercalia. This feast was to protect humans from wolves and to honor of the Roman Gods of Agriculture. During the feast, the Lupercali (Roman priests) would gather in a scared cave where they believed Romulus and Remus were cared for by a she-wolf, a lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. Boys would use the goats hide dipped in the sacrificial blood and slap the women with the hide. They believed this would make the women more fertile. During the feast, the unwed women would place their name in a big urn and the unwed men would pick from the urn. The man would be paired to the woman he picked for the rest of the year. Usually, the two would fall in love and marry.

When Christianity spread through Rome, the practice
of finding a mate this way was outlawed. Around 498 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th St. Valentine’s Day.

8 comments:

Skhye said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for sharing, Karen. Agriculturally-based societies always have the most interesting fertility rituals! ;)

Enter to win a sterling-silver claddagh pendant on an 18" chain at my yahoo group,
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/skhyemoncrief/

P.L. Parker said... Best Blogger Tips

What a way to pick a mate. I don't know that I'd be thrilled to be slapped around with a blood-soaked skin. Maybe its just me though. Interesting bit of history. Thanks.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Skhye,

I enjoy reading about them, too.

P.L.,
I'm with you--yuck. I think I'd run in the other direction. lol

Mary Ricksen said... Best Blogger Tips

I think I prefer the way we do it now! (grin)

Mitzi said... Best Blogger Tips

Love the post. Love wolves, too.
Thanks for sharing that great information.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Mary,

No lottery for me. What if you were stuck with the guy you despised?



Mitzi,

Love wolves, too. Thanks for stopping by.

Rebecca J Vickery said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Karen,
You always have the best holiday blogs. Love the research you put into them and the facts you share. But I also prefer our more modern ways of finding a mate. I definitely would not want to be smacked with a bloody hide.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Rebecca,

Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

I'm with you no bloody hide for me. lol