The History of Valentine’s Day


Three Latin Club members run down the hallways of Goffstown Highsc hool, to mimic the Luperci whipping of the Roman citizens while running around the city of Rome.

Kiana Belanger, Staff Writer

On February 14th, 2022, Goffstown’s Latin club learned the history behind Valentine’s Day. Before it became Valentines Day, it was formerly known as Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a holiday to honor the god Faunus, Greek name Pan, who is a sater, half goat half human. Faunus’ job name is known as Lupercus. Lupercus was a generous spirit who aided the growth of crops and herbs but also kept the wolves away from the livestock. Luper meaning wolf in latin. The name Faunus comes from the word favere which means to favor.

During Lupercalia, two groups of men, called the Luperci, were chosen to participate in the main event. These young men were from the “better families of Rome” meaning they were wealthy and their parents were probably a senator. These men would meet in the cave on Palatine Hill. It was there that the gruesome sacrifices took place. They would sacrifice goats and dogs. Each group of men would have a leader. It was the leader that would get smeared with the sacrificial blood on their foreheads. After the blood was smeared, it would be wiped off with wool dipped in milk. While the blood was being wiped off, the men would laugh out loud.

After the trial, they would have a great feast and get drunk. After the feast, they would take bloody goatskins, fashioned whips and loincloths. First, they would run a few laps around the Palatine Hill to sanctify it. Then the two groups would run a sacred race around the city. There, they would whip anyone in their way. The people concidered it to be lucky to be whipped. On Feburary 14th, 2022, Goffstowns Latin club performed the sacred race that took place during Lupercalia. Three young men were chosen to act as the Luperci. Their names were Reid Guillemette, latin name Maximus, Brendan Hirsch, latin name Valerius, and Ian Tschida, latin name Petrus. These three ran down the hallway of Goffstown highschool, hitting the other latin club members. This was to mimic the Luperci running around the city whipping the citizens of Rome. “The Romans were definitely messed up but this was a fun experience.” said Reid Guillemette, Sophomore. Overtime, Lupercalia turned into St. Valentine’s Day. Instead of celebrating the god Faunus, St. Valentine’s day celebrates true love.