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The Feast of Lubercus

The roots of Valentine's Day can be traced back to pagan festivals of third century Rome.  February 14th was set aside as a day to honor the goddess Juno, who was the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses and was the goddess of women and marriage.  

This day was also the eve of the Feast of Lupercalia.  This festival was in honor of the god Lubercus.  During this time hordes of hungry wolves roamed outside of Rome where shepherds kept their flocks. The God Lupercus, was said to watch over the shepherds and their flocks and keep them from the wolves. Every February the Romans celebrated a feast called Lupercalia to honor Lupercus so that no harm would come to the shepherds and their flocks. 

Also during Lupercalia, but in honor of the goddess Juno Februata, it was traditional to have boys and girls pick names from an urn and become partners to the festival, playing and dancing together. Sometimes the pairings lasted through the year, which begain in March, and some resulted in marriaige. This tradition was performed in anticipaion of the rites of spring and as a celebration of youthful love. This celebration continued long after wolves were a problem to Rome.