On the weekend of February 22 and 23, the ROMA community held it's Lupercalia Festival. For those who don't know, it was a festival in ancient Roman times held in February. The name comes from the Lupercal, the cave in the south side of Palatine Hill in Rome of which it's legendary founders Romulus and Remus were supposedly nursed by a female wolf until found by a shepherd. The festival was best known for it's rite of naked youths lightly flogging people with goatskins in the belief that this would encourage fertility. At least one description had the goatskins soaked in milk first.
In celebration of this most ancient of festivals we will be performing a Roman ritual for Faunus Lupercus, the God of Wild Things and Lupa, the she-wolf who nourished the founding fathers Romulus and Remus. After the rite, we will have the Running of The Luperci - half-naked youths who bless the citizens of the city. The citizens will run ahead of the Luperci, who will lightly flog them with the goatskin floggers in hopes of fertility (both of mind and body). Following the ritual, we will have our traditional Lupercalia Feast - and
Gaius Tiberius Curio (guillaume.mistwalker) and Maali Beck explained the ritual, Gaius saying, "The rite will begin in a moment, but before we start, we'd like to explain a bit about the Lupercalia and the rite. The Lupercalia festival was in honor of the She-Wolf (Lupa) who suckled the infant orphans, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. The name of the festival, Lupercalia, translates into 'Wolf Festival.' The festival was celebrated near the Cave of Lupercal on the Palatine (one of the seven hills of Rome), to expiate and purify new life in the Spring. The religious ceremonies were directed by the Luperci, the 'brothers of the wolf (lupus),' a corporation of priests of Faunus." Maali added, "In today's rite, we will invoke Faunus Lupercus (otherwise known as Pan in Greece), as He is the God that presides over Lupercalia. Lupercalia is primarily a festival of fertility, and Faunus was seen by Romans as the epitome of the lusty passion from which fertility is born."
Gaius continued, "The ancient festival began with the sacrifice by the Luperci of two male goats and a dog. Next, two young patrician Luperci were led to the altar, to be anointed on their foreheads with the sacrificial blood, which was wiped off the bloody knife with wool soaked in milk, after which they were expected to smile and laugh; the smearing of the forehead with blood probably refers to human sacrifice originally practised at the festival." Maali added, "The sacrificial feast followed, after which the Luperci cut thongs from the skins of the sacrifice, dressed themselves in the remainder of the goat skins, in imitation of Faunus Lupercus. They then ran round the walls of the old Palatine city with the thongs in their hands in two bands, striking the people who crowded near."
Gaius went on, "Girls and young women would line up on their route to receive lashes from these whips. This was supposed to ensure fertility, prevent sterility in women and ease the pains of childbirth. Today, the blessing we ask is for the fertilty of body and of mind, a blessing on the creative process in all it's forms." Maali added, "Maali Beck: Here in our Roma, we do not practice blood sacrifice, but we will be celebrating the latter half of the festival, much as the Romans would have. After today's rite, we will lead you in the Running of The Luperci - as you race behind us, the other Luperci will follow behind you to bless you with their lashes as they pass."
Gaius and Maali roleplayed the ritual in both English and Latin, "I consecrate this altar. ... Immortal Gods, I call You. Please bless me. As it is said, so must it be! ... Hail, Father Janus - Janus of Beginnings, Two Faced Janus, Janus Door Opener, Janus Home Protector, Janus of the Folk! ... I pray to You so that You willingly might be well-disposed towards me. May I behold the Shining Gods! ... Hail, Jupiter Optimus Maximus, Almighty Father, King of Gods and Men. Or by whatever title else that You may have willed to be named." "If by obedience I am deserving, then give to me and to our Roma prosperity as well as happiness in our work." "Hail, Faunus Lupercus. With good prayers I offer to You this wine. May it be Your will to look with favor upon these folk who have honored You, for which purpose I make this offering. ... Faunus Lupercus, God of the Wilds, bless us this Lupercalia. Yours is the season of fertility, passion, and lust. Grant us fertility, not only of the body, but of the mind. Let our creative visions come to fruition. Grant us passion, not only of the flesh, but of the heart. Let our spirits be enflamed with the passion of living. Grant us lust, not only of our loins, but the lust for success, in all our endeavours. Let us acheive all our desires." "Father Janus, Father Jupiter, and Faunus Lupercus, if anything was displeasing to You in the offered gift from me, receive Ye this rite of atonement. ... "
We then ran out of the cave, going down the path up the hill, and at the spot chosen to be the site of the dance, near a roasting pig and a jar of wine. This time, a number of residents dropped their outfits to go about in the buff. Yours truly took several pictures, but after the one shown (left) was when several more showed up sans toga. Someone stated, "In ROMA specifically, you can be topless any time, but full nudity is only allowed at events like this."
People talked about a contest for the most imaginative lines for graffiti to be places in spots on the sim, and taking Latin classes. There was also general talk, "I think it's a good thing to be naughty once in a awhile. As long as it doesn't hurt anyone else."And there was some joking around, "She's a mer(maid) ... We have to dump water over her head once an hour or something." "So if I told her to 'go soak your head,' that wouldn't be taken as an insult? (grin)" "(giggle) Not at all! She'd probably thank you for offering."
Other lines included, "I resent that remark. am never a slut. I am just.... naughty." "I bet they really, really regreted pressing the self-destruct button in Pompeii." "And we thought you were just here to dance nakie and have fun!" "(This) is the one time of year i throw caution (and clothes) to the wind!"
Eventually the party wound down. Many would show up at the Wolf Hunt at Noon.
Time for another Hunt - ROMA's own version of hide and seek+tag with prizes! For Lupercalia, we will have cunning wolves for you to chase - how many can you tag in 1 hour? The Hunt is confined to Transtiberim, but the wolves are clever and hard to find! Prizes will be awarded to the ones who have tagged the most wolves - 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.
I didn't make it to the wolf hunt, though I did catch the end of the last event for the day, the "Venus Truth or Consequences" which began at 1 PM. Much like the "Truth or Dare" games I'd seen earlier. People were sitting on a few pillows, with some standing, with a "spin the bottle" in a space in the middle of the scene.
A woman playing the part of the Goddess Venus had an "enchanted rose" which asked the questions. Among them were, "Has anyone ever seen you completely naked in SL. If yes, who?" Someone commented, "It's Lupercalia, is that fair?" The person asked answered, "ermmm ... a couple years ago the whole of Roma saw me in my birthday suit (grin). Damn SL would not rez my clothes." "What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you while you were having sex?" "Oh, the bed broke one time!" That answer got a number of chuckles, one saying, "Note to self: never have sex in a homemade bed."
On Sunday, there would be three more events. At 10 AM was the "Lupercalia Name That Quote Trivia."
Several people were taking part in the contest, with a fierce competition for first place. Steelhead resident Cray Juliesse and Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas) ended up tied for first with a score of 18 quotes correctly guessed each.The tie-breaking quote was, "I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing... I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for." And they needed to name the movie, the actor, and the character's name. Cray answered, "Practical Magic, Sandra Bullock, Sally." The Steelheader was declared the winner.
To top off this festival weekend, we have The Grand Feast of Lupercalia! Join us for an evening of feasting, dancing, and good company, with live music by Taunter Goodnight - as well as our Lupercalia Costume Contest! Our costume theme this time around is Mythological Beasts. So come as a creature of myth or legend! We will vote for best male and female costume - the winners will receive $L1000!
Mark Allan Jensen (majjackslade) provided the music for the party, as people danced in the grass in the clearing beside the food table. Among the creatures present were a faun and naga, and a couple followers of Anubis.
The party didn't have much time to wind down when came the last event, the Harpastum game, a kind of Roman football.
Come join us as our Legio faces off in a game of Harpastum in honour of the Lupercalia! Harpastum, was the ancient Romans answer to soccer/football. For this game, you'll see the contestants display considerable speed, agility, and physical ability. All citizens are invited to participate in the game or watch from the sidelines!
The first game went fairly easy for Torin's team, ending with a score of 5-1, Torin doing a victory animation with each. But Melanippe's team recovered, and won the second game. The third game was a hard fought match, with the score 4 to 4 at one point. But Torin's team got the last goal and the victory. The players on his team each got a prize.
And so ended Roma's Lupercalia Weekend of 2014, with lots of fun in the historical community.