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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Lupercalia Day!

According to tradition, Valentine was a Catholic bishop who was martyred for his faith. He's now omitted from the calendar of saints' days because he probably never existed. His festival was on the 14th of February, but the custom of sending ‘valentines’ to a loved one on that day seems to have arisen because the day coincided with the Roman mid-February festival of Lupercalia.

Lupercalia was a festival in celebration of Romulus and Remus, the two brothers who were supposedly raised by wolves (like Tom Cruise). So how was the original holiday celebrated?

Two village boys were annointed with blood and milk, and then (dressed in goat skins) they went running through the town streets with whips, hitting anyone they could. It was a purification ceremony of sorts. You were lucky if you got hit.

In fact, this is where the month February gets it's name; from the Roman word februa, which means purification.

As time went by, a sort of lottery system evolved, where available girls put their names in a box to be drawn out by the young men of the city. Look at it as the first recorded instance of "blind dates".

Typical of the Catholic Church, in it's continued attempt to absorb and replace pagan traditions, Lupercalia was eventually compromised to a "saint" day, and people drew the names of different saints, instead of phone numbers.

You can see why this never took off.

Eventualy the singles lottery emerged again during the medieval days of romance and chivalry. And from there, it evolved into the actual exchanging of valentines.

I think we make too much of Valentine's Day. There are many people who are very depressed on this day, because they're without a "significant other". And for many of us, our true valentines are our children or our families, no matter whom may come into (or walk out of) our lives.

So, I am recommending that we go back to Lupercalia festivities. Of course the jewelers may be reluctant about this, I'm sure. But instead of churning out diamond-studded whatnots, they could create jewelry in the theme of wolves.

Card companies could start putting out little sentiments that emphasize how family-oriented wolves are, and how wolves mate for life.

Instead of the occasional Olympic torch running, we would now have youths dressed in goatskin, running yearly through the streets with whips. And because it's good luck to be whipped, we'll all have a front row seat to see every member in Congress line up for a much-deserved whipping.

It could work.

34 comments:

mal said...

where do I sign up?

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Can I sign up as well??

Happy Valentine's Day to You, Saur. I hope it is sweet.

Kathleen said...

Where do you find these pictures? Geez! Annual flogging of Congress? Sounds good to me!

Love the post!

Saur♥Kraut said...

Kathleen, :D I think people would pay for this. Think of how it would enrich the tax coffers! Happy L-Day!

Barbara & Mallory, I think the first step is a petition drive... And Happy L-Day to you both!!!

Some Random Girl said...

As always....TONS of fabulous information! You are so well written and interesting! I love your blog!

Badoozie said...

okay, that picture is just plain gross. where did you get that. icky,,,,,,,,

okay. maybe the jewelers could put diamonds into the whips. and that buy with the stick could buy one. that looks like an old lady he is beating on. i'm sorry, i got back onto that subject.

have a great day, whatever the way.

Paul said...

Hillary Clinton and Diane Feinstein bent over for a whipping....

Naw...I'm heading for Mexico and never coming back!

Kyahgirl said...

Saur! I LOVE this idea :-)
I think that all the old celebrations/rituals get twisted around, either by the powerful church of the time, or by the merchandising efforts of big business.

And certainly, US congress could benefit from some beatings. I'm afraid if we got started on Bush no one would stop until there was nothing left of him though.

Eddo said...

Oh, this is interesting stuff!

That last picture though, OMW!

Maybe we get the pink from the mixed blood and goats milk?

Mike said...

I say we go back to the whips and stuff, now that sounds pretty fun!

Edge said...

I like that you brought out all that history of the Catholic church and absorbing customs. I heard something similar to that one day on the radio. It was fascinating to see where stuff comes from.

That last pick was too funny. Maybe we should go back to the origins of the day. Or just celebrate Festivus.

~Jef

Lee Ann said...

You always make it interesting! Happy Valentine's Day sweetie!

Liquidplastic said...

You never cease to amaze me! Yes, I miss this place. Not only do I learn a lot about history, to say the least, but you are so creative in coming up with different subjects to blog about. Thank you for sending me the link. it was refreshing to stop what I was working on to read this ...

uncle joe said...

You always draw us in with the serious stuff and then with the last scroll down you slap us right on the butt!

Happeee Lovairs Day Saur!

Ellen said...

A very Happy Lupercalia Day to you too!

I think if you squint your eyes just right at the last picture, you can make out a heart shape... well... almost.

Ed Abbey said...

I hadn't heard about that until this morning on the way back from my wife's ultrasound when I heard it on NPR.

I knew there was a scam in all those chocolates and flowers somewhere. With that said, my wife already has those along with the card with lots of words. I still think she likes the handwritten poems the best.

Happy V & L Day to you.

Brianne said...

Hmm... interesting!

Enjoy your day, in any manner that you wish!

Beaver said...

Hey Saur! Happy Luper to you too! I actually remember reading a description of the Lupercalia festivities in Anne Rice's Pandora... seems our vampiric writer was pretty accurate after all!

I'm on for it! V-day is over-rated and puts pressure on couples - it also depresses lonely hearts. As far as I'm concerned, I think it should be V-day everyday... without the commercial red hearts.

By the way, V-Day is really big in Pakistan! It's incredible how many restaurants put on special menus and events on this occasion.

Funky, huh?

Cheers,

Beav'

P.S. I know I haven't updated much recently - I have been working day in and day out. As soon as the dust settles, I'll post some more!

Jamie Dawn said...

I love Tom Cruise part! Raised by wolves indeed!

I think of V-Day as a day of LOVE. Not just sweetheart love, but a day when I let all my friends & family know I love them.

Notsocranky Yankee said...

That is one saggy ass in that picture!

Happy Lupercalia Day to you too!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Eek!! Buttcrack in your post, buttcrack in your comments. Is there no escape for me??

Mr. Fabulous said...

Sounds like a winner of an idea to me. I'm in!

michelle said...

Nice Saur, such a lady!

:-)

Three Score and Ten or more said...

As slowly as I walk, I'd get a whippin for sure. (When I was a kid, I used to get whippin's for running.) Happy L Day,
( I still think you should have posed for that pic a couple of posts ago.)

~Deb said...

And this is exactly what I have planned for me and my girlfriend tonight! Woo hoo!


The picture is quite funny! You're too much!

Stephanie said...

hahahaha only you, Saur. lol

Thanks for the um... graphic picture. lol

Fred said...

Thanks for including the link over at my place, Saur. Happy Valentine's Day!

AP3 said...

All very interesting, and new to me.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I am all for the Roman holiday celebrations! They are usually much more fun than the church inspired ones. In fact, if I were so inclined I would bring back the worship of the Roman God of food and wine! Imagine what holidays I could revive! Church services would include an all you can scarf buffet, and multiple kegs of beer! Bar tabs would be tax deductible! And so on.

But on this day I am not depressed. Far from it. I just think of all the money I did NOT have to spend on flowers that will be dead tomorrow. I can use that money to buy a diatom filter!

Senor Caiman said...

Saur,

Happy Valentines's Day.

I always decorate a shoebox and place it on my desk for valentine cards. I like receiving cards and since I'm in charge.

KristieD said...

Happy valentines day to you too! I want a seat if we ever get that plan of yours going!

Mr. Althouse said...

Happy V-day!!

Thanks for all you support,

~Mike

Live, Love, Laugh said...

OUCH! that picture made me laugh out loud. You are a hoot!!!

Lava said...

Ouch is right!! Happy valentines day to you (I'm a little late, I know)