As I'm sure you've guessed, we got the name of the month of February from this ancient Sabine festival of cleansing. Sabines were an ancient people of central Italy, conquered and assimilated by the Romans in 290 BC.
This festival was associated with the beginning of Spring and had to do with purging, cleansing with water and Spring rains. The Latin word itself may have had an Etruscan origin.
Etruscans were a group of people also from central Italy, who ruled Rome until 509 BC when the Romans expelled them from the city and conquered them. Many of the things we consider Roman, such as frescoes, are actually Etruscan in origin.
In Roman and earlier Etruscan mythology, Februus was the god of the dead and purification. Sacrifices were made at this time of year to atone for sins.
Februa became included and confused with the Roman festival of Lupercalia. They were initially the same kind of celebration but once the Romans took over, the festival celebration for this time of year became one of merriment and kinky sexual play.
During the festival of Lupercalia, men run around wiping people, especially women, with goat-skin thongs called februa (purifiers) to bring fertility and an easy childbirth.
In 494 AD, Pope Gelasius I introduced Candlemas or the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary to try to stop the pagan festival, which was still very popular.
Tom’s wife, from Tom & Icy fame, was born today.
Happy Birthday, Red!
A frequent visitor here who likes to remain mysterious,
would like us all to consider helping the children of Haiti by visiting
The Universal Learning Centre's Website and doing what you can.