Happy Lupercalia! and Happy Valentine’s Day!
Lupercalia is the Roman festival celebrated around the 15th of February, some say the 13-15th. This was considered a fertility ritual and also a purification ritual. We do not know for sure which god(s) were celebrated, how it was celebrated or its true origins. Historians have made educated guesses as to what may have happened during this time.
Priests called the Luperci would participate in a ritual that included the sacrifice of goats and perhaps dogs. The priests would have the blood of the sacrifices smeared upon them and would then soak pieces of pelt in the blood. These pelts would then be used to "strike" people, especially women to keep them from being sterile and to promote fertility.
The Romans started their new year around March or springtime, so the time before (in February) was a time to get rid of anything old and make way for the new. So this was also a time for purification and cleansing.
The festival of Lupercalia is said to honor the she-wolf, Lupa, who found the abandoned twins, Remus and Romulus. She became their mother for the most part and suckled them to maturity. She took care of them like a mother would.
This festival may have started around 753 BC and was thought to end around 1200 years later at the end of the 5th century AD.
Lupercalia does have some associations to Valentine’s Day. This was a time of match making of couples. Alliances were made between families to strengthen bonds (whether romantic or political). Its association with fertility rites also gives this festival a tie to Valentine’s Day as today Valentine’s Day is mainly a festival or time for romance which may lead to personal fertility rites :).
So whether you celebrate Lupercalia or Valentine’s Day, I hope you have a wonderfully magical day. May love always be in your heart.