Happy Valentine's Day! Or ... well, you know. Okay, this is late. My holiday pinups usually are. It's so late, it can't even make up for the update that wasn't there on Monday.
A word about the day: Valentine's Day falls on the Roman mid-February festival called the Lupercalia
, the "Wolf Festival", meant to honour the wolf who suckled the infants Romlulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. This tradition may in fact go back a bit further, into ancient Greece where a pastoral holiday in Arcadian Lycea was celebrated in honour of ... guess who.
Even when celebrated in Rome, the priests of the god Faunus (a Roman god equivalent to Pan ... not exactly the same, but quite close) played a central role in what remained a festival of fertility and renewal, dressing in goatskins and sacrificing two goats and a dog. The festival began to suffer during the reign of Julius Caesar, was reinstated by Augustus, and finally completely abolished by Pope Galassius in the 5th century AD.
A last note I found interesting: Women would receive ceremonial lashings from the skins of the Lupercalian sacrifices to ensure fertility and ease childbirth. I found a reference once to a practice in ancient Greece of flaying the statues of Pan when hunting was poor ... not to punish the god, but to alleviate whatever was affecting his ability to keep the land abundant. The two are probably unrelated ... but it's an interesting similarity.
Sooo ... Happy Lupercalia!