Pope Gelasius I made the Lupercalia the Festival of the Purification of the Virgin Mary in 494. It was originally a shepherd festival to ensure the fertility of flocks and fields. After the sacrifice of goats and a dog in a grotto on the Palatine Hill called the Lupercal, the priests called luperci and two youths of noble family ran through the streets of Rome, smeared with the sacrificial blood and clad in goat hides. They struck those who stood in their way with thongs of goat skin (februa) to make them fertile. Thus, barrenness was warded off and fruitfulness was bestowed through

Februa of the Luperci

Feast day of Lupercus
—Rites of fertility
(Purity, too)—
Spurred Gaius Julius'
"Make sure, Calpurnia,
That one strikes you."

This is offered to you with my apologies to William Shakespeare and The Tragedy of Julius Caesar!

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