Historical Ways to "Put a Ring on It"
The term “Valentine’s Day” can typically yield an array of emotions including happiness, love, desire for silky heart-shaped chocolates, or maybe a deep rooted hatred of everyone and everything associated with this holiday. One that many do not think about are naked men and bloody whips. If this spikes interest, then Lupercalia is one old-timey tradition to read up on around this time, yet many people have mixed feelings about this holiday.
“I have mixed feelings. Valentine’s Day is unnecessary, but it’s fun if you have someone to celebrate it with.” Tyler Spence said on greatfallstribune.com.
Lupercalia was celebrated in the middle ages to commemorate the god of fertility, Lupercus.
Legend says that twin brothers, Romulus and Remus, were nurtured by a she-wolf. She had an altar for giving dog and goat sacrifices to the mighty god Lupercus, an altar that was sacred to him. After that the Luperci [brothers of the wolf] dressed up in goat skins in attribute to Romulus and Remus, or the Archadian Envader, meaning a good man with strong virtue.
High status children were taken to the Luperci, they touched their foreheads with a sword dipped in the blood of the victims, then wiped it away with milk-soaked wool. The little ones were encouraged to shout and laugh about in appreciation of the plethora of iron they just received, and the blessings that would come with this sacrifice.
The men later began to run around and hit the women [gently], and the women in fact desired it, for it was said that they were to be more fertile if this was done.
“Vegetarians who refuse to use animal skins could make a veggie feast, and pelt the women with potato peelings,” the Many Gods website said. “The process of taking old habits and finding new expressions for them is one common to pagan reconstructionists of all traditions. Considerably creativity is needed, but it is still possible to retain the spirit of the old in the form of the new- if the wolf howls to you.”
If the idea of being hit with dog skin and goat parts does not sound appealing, there is an alternative.