Enjoy Lupercalia. Long live erotic love!
The age-old tradition of St Valentine’s Day was called Lupercalia in pagan times. It was held on 15th February, which pagans considered to be the end of one year and the beginning of the next. The day was named after a God called Lupercalis who was similar to the God Pan, a God of fertility. During the festival each young man would pull the name of a young woman out of an urn full of names. They were expected to spend 3 days together as lovers during the festival and then an entire year in sexual relationship together. From these liaisons, many young people would find themselves continuing in a longer relationship.
A succession of popes were scandalized by this festival and tried to uproot it, unsuccessfully. Finally, in the 5th century, Pope Gelasius managed to rearrange it in such a way that the martyred Saint Valentine was worshipped on that day. What actually happened is that a boy would present a token of the martyred Saint to a young woman in order to let her know he fancied her. This later metamorphosed into what we know of today as Saint Valentine’s Day. Because of the tenacity of the pagan festival and the fact that people were not willing to give it up, the poor martyred Valentine became synonymous with gestures of love and courtship.
— Reprinted from Sarita’s newsletter firstname.lastname@example.org