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Lupercalia was a very ancient festival, observed on February 15 to turn away evil spirits and clean the city, releasing health and fertility. The Lupercaliawas believed to have some connection with the Ancient Greek festival of the Arcadian Lykaia and the adoration of Lycaean Pan, the Greek equivalent to Faunus.[1]Lupercus is a god identified with the Roman god Faunus, who is the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Pan.[2] Lupercus is the god of shepherds. His festival,celebrated on the anniversary of the founding of his temple on February 15, was called the Lupercalia.
The Lupercalia festival was partly in honor of Lupa, theshe-wolf who, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome,[5] explaining the name of the festival, Lupercalia, or "Wolf Festival." The festival was celebrated nearthe cave of Lupercal on the Palatine (where Rome was founded [6]), to apologize and purify new life in the Spring.
The festival began with the sacrifice bythe Luperci of two male goats and a dog.[7] Next two young patrician Luperci were led to the altar, to be massage on their foreheads with the sacrificial blood,after which they were expected to smile and laugh.
The sacrificial feast followed, after the Luperci dressed themselves in the skins of the sacrificed goats,in imitation of Lupercus, and ran round the walls of the old Palatine city, with the sandals in their hands, striking the people who crowded near. Girls andyoung women would line up on their route to be slapped. This was supposed to ensure fertility, prevent sterility in women and relieve the pains of childbirth.
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