As with many modern holidays, Valentine’s Day is a church-sponsored derivative of an ancient Roman festival. Today’s mass marketed celebration of love complete with flowers, chocolate, red hearts and cupid is a much distilled G rated version of a lustful pagan holiday filled with nearly naked young men and women, consensual S&M in the name of fertility and the chance to win a year long one night stand.
The Romans dedicated the holiday to the god Lupercus, a fertility deity. There’s nothing like a government sponsored sextravaganza, hmm? The sanctioned naughtiness was kicked off the good old fashioned way, with animal sacrifice. Two young and virile men from fine upstanding families were anointed with blood and given whips fashioned from the hide of the sacrificed goat. Dipping their whips into more blood, the youths would chase after the town maidens and, well, um, flog them lightly to purify them and bless them with an easy childbirth. I have nothing against a hottie with a spanking fetish, but the blood part would ick me out in a major way. I would be completely not well, which is unfortunate because then I wouldn’t be able to muster up any excitement for the sex lottery.
Yes, sex lottery. After the very public foreplay, the area’s Most Eligible Bachelors and Bachelorettes would participate in a lottery to pair them up for a year. Imagine, rows of titillated, recently flogged ladies anxiously waiting to be given to the lucky stud that drew her name out of the lot, savoring the delicious tension while glancing nervously at each and every robust man, wondering if the event would produce highly satisfying results. Sometimes at the end of the year the pair would marry, sometimes not. At any rate, by the end of the day you had your bedmate until the next Lupercalia and reality t.v. dating shows were conceived. At the very least seeds were planted that would one day sprout into group gropes cleverly marketed as lifestyle celebrations, such as Southern Decadence, Beat Me in St. Louis and pretty much every high school's prom.
The church shoved Lupercalia into the closet and slammed the door shut during the reign of Pope Gelasius who was outraged by the lust, leather and social seduction. He did what he could to ensure the holiday would fade into oblivion, replaced by a more conventional and respectful observance of love. Never fear, there are still followers of Lupercus who honor the old ways. Why waste time buying a heart shaped box of third rate chocolates when you can immerse yourself in the seduction of centuries past? Lupercalia 2006 boasts a master/slave scavenger hunt along with whip demonstrations, merriment and feasting.
My Valentine’s frolicking does include feasting, as my boyfriend is taking me to an undisclosed locale for dinner. Unquestionably, the food will be delectable. I’m certain to rave over our menu in a post V-Day blog. However, I won't share details of any personal fertility rites coupled with flogging. There is a limit to what I'll disclose, people. What do your plans include? Anyone out there planning an enticing and seductive evening?