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This is a good entry, but the connection to the 40 day Christian penitential season of Lent is put too simplistically. Yes, the early Christians liked to 'domesticate' pagan festivals, but (1) since almost every day could have been a festival, if they wanted to have an observance they had a hard time AVOIDING Roman festivals, so the linkage is often false and (2) Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, as we might as well call it, or Carnival, or whatever, is set not by the Lupercalia but by its relationship to Easter. That has to be made clear. I am also not at all sure that the penitential season was invented in the city of Rome by Pope Gelasius, but that research can come later. --MichaelTinkler

Absolutely. I agree with you completely. What I see as evidence of the the "linkage" is the way pagan symbols were adopted into Christian practice, so that many modern Christian festivals, holy days, etc., to this day carry forward many pagan images, reinterpreted or merged (e.g., the Christmas tree, Easter eggs). It is probably non-npov to imply there was an intentional "corruption" of the pagan festivals; that probably happened by infrequently. It's just part of human nature for the new forms to incorporate the old.
I'm still looking for a good source regarding Gelasius. --Dmerrill

Alright. Yes, Christians adopted some pagan holidays. However, LENT last 40 days. Lupercalia is what - a week? These two are not commensurate. This is a silly fragment of 19th century 'scholarship' along the lines of the tedious and oft-disproved Golden Bough. Try the pagan implications of Christmas. It makes more sense. --MichaelTinkler.

According to this source, a forty day fast in preparation for Pascha (Easter) was mentioned in the canons of Nicea I:
The first mention of the Forty Days Fast is made in the fifth canon of the Council of Nicaea (325). From that time, the Forty Days Fast is discussed by many Church Fathers and St. Athanasius (d. 373) does not hesitate to say: "Anyone who neglects to observe the Forty Days Fast is not worthy to celebrate the Easter Festival." (cf. Festal Letters XIX, 9) (
It appears that everyone more or less agrees that Lent was not a deliberate "corruption" or "adaptation" of Lupercalia; I propose that that section be stricken entirely unless someone objects. Wesley
After googling a little, it appears that if anything, Lupercalia was replaced with St. Valentine's Day, not with Lent. At least if you take the top 20 google hits at face value. Any more scholarly evidence is welcomed, but if no responses come, I still propose to strike the conneciton with Lent. :-) Wesley

About Carnem levare: this was a verse of latin precepts of Roman Church, a part of a list of instructions that remained more or less unaltered as long as the holy mass was in latin. Carne + vale is just a students' joke.

I removed the following text, because there appears to be consensus that it's mostly or entirely false:

The festival went on until A.D. 484, when Pope Gelasius I, in a typical pattern of early Christianity, made use of a pagan festival for Christian purposes and changed Lupercalia into a Christian "Feast of Purification" now known as Lent.
It seems odd that everyone confuses the Christian festival of the Purification of the Virgin, or Candlemas, with Lent. How can you decide that the Purification of the Virgin does not supercede the Lupercalian purification. It isn't as if one was about crops and one about sin, or one was about apples and the other about oranges. These are two feasts of purification. Stop worrying about a few little pre-christian antecedents. In fact pope Gelasius I wrote a treatise against the Lupercalia, which he suppressed. That treatise survives. Anyone really still looking for a good source regarding Gelasius could begin with a cautious reading of the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia and compare it with Encyclopaedia Britannica for a start. Wetman 21:39, 2 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The last day before Lent, known as Shrove Tuesday in older English sources, Mardi Gras in French, and Carnival in many places, is a festival of feasting before the penitential season begins. The term Carnival comes from Carnem + levare, which in Latin mean, literally, "remove meat" (from diet), an appropriate sentiment at the beginning of Lent; this name comes from the Catholic prohibition of eating meat during all the period. This prohibition was later reduced and applies now on Fridays only. By a similar sense, the other italian synonym, "Carnasciale" (from Middle Age, now very seldom used) that comes from italian Carne + lasciare (abandon meat). Wesley

Since Lent is based upon the date of Easter, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the Feast of the purification of the Virgin, you're barking at the wrong car. Wetman 21:39, 2 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Valentines Day[edit]

We have recently studied Lupercalia in Latin class. We mentioned that some of the Lupercalia traditions were believed by scholars to be related to Valentine's Day. It is thought that girls left notes in jars to boys that they liked or something along these lines pre-Lupercalia. This is a Valentine's Day tradition as well. This is believed to be where the tradition of Valentines Day was picked up, by some. I believe that this should be added to the article if it is fact...Can someone clear this up for me?

See the article Valentine's Day. The detail about the notes in jars at the Lupercalia seems to have been invented in the eighteenth century by Alban Butler, author of Butler's Lives of the Saints.--Wetman 18:38, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

There are several OTHER references to lottery, picking, choosing, wive or girls, or sex partners for some period of days or up to a year. Reference to the only way to get a wife, etc.

I am certantl not an expert on this. Probably needs so research and citations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jraff9 (talkcontribs) 15:07, 14 February 2017 (UTC)


(after which the Luperci cut thongs from the skins of the victims) which victims? I'm pretty sure it's the goats but it's not made clear. If it is the goats then victims should be replaced with sacrifices

Grammar Confusion[edit]

The second sentence of the second paragraph under "Origins" seems somewhat of a run-on to me. Should someone change it, or is it acceptable as it is currently?


If "Lupercus" is simply Justin Martyr's back-formation from Lupercalia, shouldn't the material there (very minor) be moved here, and "Lupercus" made a redirect? --Wetman 10:16, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

Agree.Julia Rossi (talk) 00:33, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
What evidence is there that it is a back-formation? I see no reference to such here, nor in the article, nor in the articles or talk pages for either of Lupercus and Justin Martyr. Hv (talk) 18:54, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I've added Justin's reference. TI didn't add the remark in M.Minucius Felix, Octavius XXIV, trashing "Roman superstition": "For some you'll see running about stark naked the coldest day in Winter". Someone may want to give it context and add it in.--Wetman (talk) 17:22, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
('Twas the "other Justin" all along... Haploidavey (talk) 10:04, 4 April 2017 (UTC)


from Februa. See Talk:Februa. — LlywelynII 02:22, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

@LlywelynII: like any proposed merge, this should have been notified on the talk pages of both articles; during the merge, this article lost a significant section on Lupercalia in the provinces. Could you please undo the merge and redirect, at least for now? A Februa redirect might be better pointed to Februus (the deity), which in turn can be linked to this article. (I don't think an endless proliferation of articles on minor, obscure festivals/deities helps anyone, but it's far from certain that Februa and Lupercalia were "the same" thing). Thanks, Haploidavey (talk) 09:54, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Sources for future article expansion[edit]

 — LlywelynII 02:38, 4 April 2017 (UTC)