Ah, Valentines day. A day for flowers, chocolates, champagne, and candlelit meals worthy of the shrine upon which your sweetie sits. So much is expected. So much to be done in one day that it’s perhaps why the precursor to Valentine’s Day, the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, took up an entire three days. What Lupercalia and Valentine’s day have in common is that people do things that are bold, give things that are romantic, and eat something special.
The Festival Of Lupercalia
Lupercalia was observed in the city of Rome every year from the 13th to 15th of February. Every Roman turned out to celebrate their fecundity in a three-day day rager of feasts and parades like the continent-conquering badasses they were. Lupercalia connects with the story of Saint Valentine in the third century AD, during the rule of Claudius II, who prohibited marriage for his soldiers, wanting them free of any emotional attachment. Valentine was a humble Christian priest who performed clandestine marriage ceremonies for lovestruck soldiers. He was caught, jailed and finally beheaded on the eve of Lupercalia around 269 AD.
Pope Gelasius, the Inventor of Valentines Day
Years later, when Christianity took over Roman life, the Pagan festival of Lupercalia was officially outlawed. But, since people were pretty bummed about that, Pope Gelasius decided to combine the martyrdom of Valentine and Lupercalia into one holiday, celebrated on February 14th, called St. Valentine’s Day.
Goat Vs. Lobster
During Lupercalia those wacky Romans, drunk and naked, would swarm the streets striking women with whips of goat skin to ensure their fertility. Following these bizarre parades they would party like Plutarch while eating roasted goat entrails. Thankfully, the switch from Lupercalia to Valentine’s day was a significant upgrade when it comes to traditional foods. Whether prepared at home or served in a fancy restaurant, luxury dishes like steak, shrimp, lobster and scallops set today’s mood for love.
So if after reading this you still want to celebrate Lupercalia instead, you can order a whole goat from Costco here. But may we suggest, even if you do want to incorporate some of the Lupercalia traditions in your Valentine’s Day celebration (drinking wine and getting naked isn’t necessarily bad) may we suggest keeping the meal modern. Instead of ordering that goat, consider a sustainable seafood choice for dinner, the most special of which is Wild Maine Lobster Tails or maybe Atlantic Sea Scallops from Sea to Table . Whether a dinner for two or two hundred, Sea to Table has your back on Valentine’s Day.