14 February 2008
My Favorite Holiday: Lupercalia!
Glad tidings to you on this most joyful of holidays: Lupercalia! Woo hoo!
In Ancient Rome, Lupercalia was the festival celebrating the wolf who mothered Romulus and Remus, the most famous feral children in history. The festival of Lupercalia involved sacrificial goats and dogs, wiping blood on the faces of naked boys who then ran around in goat-skin undies whipping girls with goat-skin thongs.
Sounds a lot more fun than a measly box of chalky candy hearts, if you ask me.
Whether or not Lupercalia was an ancient ancestor of the modern Valentines Day seems to be uncertain; in my research I've found arguments on both sides of the issue. Either way, Lupercalia was a pastoral festival, celebrating and promoting fertility. Although it seems that we are currently locked into an endless winter hell (I heard on the radio last night that yesterday was only one of four days all month that it didn't snow!), this morning when we walked out into the wan morning light, something in the air seemed to hint at spring. To hint very very very vaguely, but to hint nonetheless. Though it's probably too cold for naked boys to run around the town square, I like the idea of celebrating fertility in this seemingly dead time. It reminds us that death is necessary for rebirth, and that this endless winter gives the earth a chance to rest and renew itself for the spring that will come... eventually. Celebrating the cycles of life and birth and rebirth feels much more important, much more sacred and real, than celebrating a multi-billion dollar marketing machine that tells us to define our worth by the number of singing cards we get.
... but on the other hand, my valentine left Pride and Prejudice on DVD for me this morning. Would I trade Colin Firth for a festival of wolves and sacrificial goats? Aye, there's the rub. Mmmm... Colin Firth.
I guess we could compromise. We'll meet half-way.
Okay, executive decision: next year we're celebrating LuperColina, and we'll snuggle with wolves, dress in goat skins, whip each other, and watch Colin Firth dive into a pool of water again and again. Best of both worlds.