Close this search box.

Lupercalia and the legend of Saint Valentine

Lupercalia - painting by Andrea Camassei in 1635 (public domain)

The whole world accustomed to the Gregorian calendar that is in use today, celebrated Saint Valentine’s Day a week ago. It is supposedly a festival of love, much to the delight of retail businesses, who manage to put on sales for all kinds of paraphernalia associated with affectionate love and care. From flowers to chocolates, and from roses to champagne.

The festival carries on the legend of a certain Saint Valentine who was put to death for marrying young couples during the course of an absolute marriage ban under the emperor Claudius II. Young Roman soldiers were banned from marriage for the sake of keeping their hearts for the empire as opposed to their beloveds.

The city of Dublin has its very own claims to the relics of Saint Valentine, which are supposedly in the  Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church. It would therefore be an interesting idea to develop the idea of Dublin as a tourist destination during these festivities. Lo and behold, the miracle of Saint Valentine for Dublin!

Shrine of St. Valentine in Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin. Photo credit: blackfish on Wikipedia.

By why 14th February? Well, that could be a transposition of the Ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia which was normally held on 15th February. During the said festival, young patrician men, the Luperci, would sacrifice a goat and a dog, strip them of their hides, and then whip welcoming ladies in the streets of Rome. The women believed that they would get fertile once they got whipped. The power of sacred whips bestowing fertility.

Conrad Dressler (1856-1940) - Lupercalia (1907) right, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, May 2012

It would be a sight to see in the streets of Dublin were it to happen in this day and age, during a procession to the  Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. That said, everyone should be free to celebrate love as they so wish.

Share your love

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.