Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Februa

001If you do not wish to celebrate Valentine's Day, perhaps you'd prefer the eve of Februa.

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.

green butterfly
Tom’s wife, from Tom & Icy fame, was born today.
Happy Birthday, Red!
green butterfly

A frequent visitor here who likes to remain mysterious,
would like us all to consider helping the children of Haiti by visiting



  1. Nice post , Nessa.

    Oh, you do not like Valentine's Day.
    It is rather commercialized.


  2. Hau`oli La Hanau to Red. I hope she has a wonderful day. I'll boop over to his blog :) Februa sounds like it might be fun, well for some at least. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your family :)

  3. Thanks for the history and mythology lesson. It made a refreshing change from hearts and flowers.

  4. wowzas! thanks for the lesson :) this was awesome stuff to learn about.


  5. I still celebrate this today by only showering once a year.

    I think my coworkers celebrate this day too.

  6. I didn't know about the origins of the month, February. Very interesting post!

  7. Goat skin thong? Yeah, give me a cheesy red heart filled with chocolate *grins*

    This was really interesting! It makes me think of Mardi Gras.

  8. Great history lesson. I knew February wasn't Norse,and didn't think it was Latin, but didn't know where it might have come from.

  9. That was very interesting! I think we could use some cleansing rain to get rid of this snow :) Happy Februa and Gung Hay Fat Choy!

  10. Februa works for me. As it happens I've bee doing some serious junk-purging this weekend so I'm pleased to find out I'm actually celebrating.

  11. Wow, never knew about Lupercalia. No wonder people are so horny this time of year.

  12. Thank you for the fun lesson involving kinky sexual play.