Merry Friday the Thirteenth/Lupercalia! The ancient Roman festival known as Lupercalia was celebrated in honor of Lupercus, the Roman equivalent of Pan. This was typically a three day festival in which a goat and a dog were sacrificed as a purification and fertility rite.

“The ritual involved the sacrifice of goats and a dog in the Lupercal by priests called Luperci, who smeared the foreheads of two noble young men with the blood of the sacrificed animals and then wiped it off.  At this point, the youths were required to laugh.  Then the luperci, clothed in loincloths, ran about the area, lashing everyone they met with strips of skin from the sacrificed goats.  Young wives were particularly eager to receive these blows, because it was believed that the ritual promoted fertility and easy childbirth.  These ceremonies were accompanied by much revelry and drinking.”

Quite a party…more on Lupercalia here.

The blood of a goat wasn’t only used for purification by the Romans. To the Jews, a goat was a pure animal and was sacrificed as an honored being. In Christianity however, goats were demonized because of their sacred status in Pagan rituals.

The dog is sacrificed because of the story that the gods Romulus and Remus suckled a giant she-wolf in the cave of Lupercal, and eventually went on to found Rome. I suppose the accusation of being “raised by wolves” wasn’t that much of an insult in ancient Rome then huh? So if you don’t have any bloody goatskins for your friday night party then at least pour one out for the bitches.


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