Our Lady of Celestial Fire

Festival of Lupercalia

February 15

(Roman) Ancient: XV Kal. Mart.
This ritual is of such antiquity that even the Romans were ignorant of its precise meaning; it perhaps calls on Pan (or Faunus, often identified with Pan) for fertility (of women and crops), purification and protection (“beating the bounds”).

The festival begins with a meeting at the Lupercal, the sacred cave where Romulus and Remus were suckled by the She-wolf (Lupa), of two colleges of priests, the Luperci Quinctiales (or Quintilii), founded by Romulus, and the Luperci Fabiani (or Fabii), founded by Remus. (The etymology of “Lupercus” is obscure.) There is an offering of mola salsa (salt cakes; see Feast of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, Sep. 13), which has been prepared by the Vestal Virgins.