Making Whoopie, Goddess-Style
February 15 was a big deal in ancient Rome. It was the beginning
of the annual Lupercalia, an early precursor to matchmakers.com, and the
foundation of the city/state of Rome.
was a festival celebrating
erotic love. It was held in honor of the Roman goddess of love and
marriage, Juno. (Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. And it
In fact, it was so hot that
the name of the month, February, was derived from the Latin word "febres",
The feast days celebrated the founding of Rome, and a pagan priest
led the festivities. Part of the program included his "whipping" all the
women to ensure their fertility.
Another part of the celebration involved a "lottery" in which the names of
the unmarried females names were drawn from a hat (or other suitable
container) by the available young males and they were "paired" for a
period of time, some say a year. This pairing, of course, being done to
honor of Juno, the goddess of love and marriage.
Accounts vary considerably regarding the duration and nature of these
pairings, but it definitely functioned as an early version of