[conspire] Happy Lupercalia

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Feb 14 19:32:23 PST 2007

An estimated one billion greeting cards have been sent out to various
people's inamoratas to help celebrate the feast of Saint Valentinus.
If you're Catholic and your calendar says it's later than 1969, then 
please be advised that Valentine got defrocked just after the Summer of
Love (a Vatican II thing).

If you're Eastern Orthodox, then you do still have a Hagio Valentinus --
but his saint's day is July 6th.

If you'd rather celebate a less Hallmark holiday, wait until tomorrow,
which is Lupercalia, aka Februatio, the festival of purification, in
which Romans rang out the old year in high fashion:  Priests of Faunus
dubbed the "Luperci" (brothers of the wolf) would gather near the cave
of Lupercal on Palatine Hill (where the she-wolf was supposed to have
raised Rhea Silvia's kids, Romulus and Remus) to sacrifice two male
goats and a dog, smearing blood on their foreheads, eating a feast, 
then dress in (only) the newly flayed goatskins and run a circuit around
the city walls carrying lashes cut from the sacrificial victims.  As
they ran, they lashed young women along their route, to help ensure

Plutarch commented (in The Parallel Lives):  "At this time many of the
noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city
naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy
thongs.  And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and
like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that
the pregnant will thus be helped to an it is delivery, and the barren to

Killjoy Pope Gelasius I abolished Lupercalia, and declared the feast of
St. Valentine in its (approximate) place, in 496.

Anyhow, more goatskins and fewer greeting cards, I say.

Superpolylogarithmic subexponential functions! / Faster than a polylog but slow-
er than exponential. / Even though they're hard to say, they're truly quintess-
ential. / Superpolylogarithmic subexponential functions! / Um diddle diddle did-
dle, um diddle ay! / Um diddle diddle diddle, um diddle ay!  -John S. Novak, III

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