happy Day of Slapping Women with Goat’s Blood!

by humanmama on February 15, 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day! If you’re like me, and the many, many other people out there who have given themselves over to this sweet Hallmark tradition, you enjoy celebrating whatever love you’ve got in this world. If you’re single, or again, like me, have been married more than 9 years, you know there’s a lot more than just romantic love out there!

Ahem! That’s because someone starts every Valentine’s Eve like this “Just so you know? I didn’t do anything.” Nothing so romantic as a little pre-Valentine’s covering-your-rear. Definitely makes me wonder how we have three kids, sometimes…

This year I got to thinking (perhaps a little bitterly) “What’s the BIG DEAL with Valentine’s Day, anyway?!” So I looked it up. Of course there’s the St. Valentine that everyone thinks is the reason behind the day, but that’s not really it. History.com did a nice job of breaking the myths and legends down for me, and what I learned was interesting. First, Valentine was maybe not one but one of three guys: “The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.” Hm. One maybe was the guy who still married people when it was outlawed. One was perhaps a guy who visited prisoners and left one young girl–possibly the daughter of the jailer–a little note, perhaps signed “Your Valentine.”

But my favorite story, far and beyond, was the Pagans’. While you might think Valentine’s Day is celebrated mid-February because that’s when St. Valentine (whichever one) died, other folks have another opinion:

[Other people] claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

Okay, well, what was this Lupercalia all about? Ohh, this is good:

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Um, whaaaaat? Yes, folks, you read that right. Gently slapping both women and crop fields with bloody goat hide. Now for all of you watching zombie movies tonight because you hate the lovey-doveyness of Valentine’s Day, imagine how well that fits into the bloody strips of hide tradition! I especially like the addition of the phrase “Far from being fearful,” because for a minute there I was worried. But then I came to realize that’s what the women wanted!!

So, straight men and lesbians, there’s still hope! If you didn’t have time to run out and buy the traditional gifts of flowers and chocolate, never fear. Just find the local goat-sacrificiary and get to it. But–oh shoot. Too late. It’s midnight.

That’s okay. There’s always next year!

Seems that way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll say!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Holly February 15, 2013 at 3:46 am

Proof that humanity was crazy before the internet :)

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