Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day or is it Lupercalia?

GreyHorseMatters has posted this lovely little Valentine for everyone she knows, and since I am one of her admirers I'm posting it along.

Valentine's Day is a weird one, a holiday that I suspect of being packaged to elicit money from our pockets. Now picture this:

You are an ancient Roman woman, whether young or a matrona. You wake up on the 14th or 15th of Februa, the month of purifications, and dress up in your best gown and jewelry. You go stand out by the street in your neighborhood and wait. The spring sun is hot on your bare shoulders. The street is crowded; your head is buzzing from the early wine and the excitement of Lupercalia.

Here they come! not on horseback but on foot: running in short togas: the two young men of the Lupercal. They are hitting every woman they can reach with strips of bloody animal hide, goat or dog, from their recent sacrifice on the Palatine. You hope to be hit with a whip and sure enough! WHACK. Good luck and abundance for the entire year!!

Isn't it romantic?

So now go eat some chocolate!!


ezra_pandora said...

lol!!! I'm soooo glad I don't live back then. That's one tradition I would certainly be able to do without!

Happy Valentines Day to you! a little early:)

Flying Lily said...

Ezra: yes...but sometimes I would like to time-travel back. No Hallmark cards, just the genuine article! 'Spring is here; let's get this party started!'

Funder said...

Hahaha, I love it! I majored in history just to learn crazy stuff like that. Alas, I should've done more ancient Greek/Roman.

Jocelyn said...

But I also would love to Time travel and see what it all was really like.
As far as the Drill team video? We are all new, she has to yell!
IN abuot a year she won thave to yell anymore !! ha ha
I've done sports all my life I am used to it!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Ouch! I'll take the chocolates. I'd love to time travel into the past too, but I think I might skip this particular good luck ritual.

ranchette said...

oh my! I had no idea! Getting beaten with strips of sacrificed animals? YUK. I'll stick to the chocolate and flowers please. :)

jme said...

ha ha, fun post! those romans were an odd bunch, but i love learning about that sort of stuff (i studied archaeology and mythology, so this post is right up my alley!) i've always thought valentines day was pretty lame - this sounds much more interesting!

Rising Rainbow said...

Eeekkkk! That wouldn't be my cup of tea........give me chocolates any day of the week.LOL

Flying Lily said...

Funder: You're another history buff! nothing like the past to console us that we aren't the only weirdos.

Jocelyn: Our drill team instructor never did stop yelling. I think we were not making normal progress.

GreyHorse: We will give you a Lupercalia pass-by on your time travel ticket. :)

Ranchette; You have the right idea.

JME: I share your general view about Valentine's Day, a day when single people are made miserable by 1000 greedy ads showing that diamonds and sex are a fair exchange.

RisingRainbow: Ahhh, chocolates now, there's an excuse for Valentine's Day that I can fully endorse.