The Feast of Lupercal

Topics: Romulus and Remus, Rome, Palatine Hill Pages: 1 (405 words) Published: December 16, 2012
Feature Article
Get your animal skins ready men, it’s that time of year again! The feast of Lupercalia has come around to Rome once more. This special feast is on February 15th to celebrate the twin founders of our great city, Romulus and Remus, as well as honoring the god Faunus.

Most of us should know the tale of Romulus and Remus but for those youngsters, the tale tells that as children, Romulus and Remus were thrown into the River Tiber on orders of their usurping uncle Amulius. The babies washed ashore by a wild fig tree, and were found by a she-wolf, who raised them with her mate. Years later they were found by the shepherd Faustulus and his wife Acca Larentia who took them in. Upon reaching adulthood they discovered their true identities, and set out to avenge themselves on their wicked great uncle. After killing him, they founded the Eternal City. Once restored to their proper place in society, the twins rediscovered the den the once grew up in and named it Lupercal, which is now a sacred site. As many of us know, Lupercal is celebrated in their cave. After a year, the rituals might have slipped your mind so I’m here to remind you. The celebration begins with two young men, of high societal rank and stripped naked, smearing blood of the sacrificial goat over themselves and then wiping it off with wool dipped in milk. Following that each youth will lead a group of men in running through the town and will slap the women and girls which goat thongs. Although to many non-Romans and foreigners this may seem odd, but this signifies something very important. Goats, although they may not seem like it, are the embodiment of sexuality in our culture. One slap from the goat skin thong will render a woman fertile or cure any troubles with conceiving a child. This fertility rite is in honor of the great god, Faunus, who himself is half man and half goat. All this is of course followed by feasting for many days. Let us all feel the happiness...
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