FEBRUA: The Festival Of Purification

In modern society, we think of Valentine’s Day as being a day for lovers, but it’s actually just a Christian holiday which evolved overtime from the Romans’ annual festival of ritual purification, known as Februa. And yes, you guessed it – the name of the month of “February” is derived from this holiday too. The festival is incredibly ancient, some say predating 1st century B.C. Over this years, this celebration evolved into Lupercalia, a pagan festival which brought a focus on fertility in the celebrations as well. And Christianity being a fairly new and radical religion at the time, held their St. Valentine’s Day celebration at the same time as Lupercalia to mask their holiday in plain site – escaping any persecution that a Christian holiday might have drawn at the time.

But before Valentine’s Day and the fertility magic of Lupercalia, Februa was more of a holiday you would reserve for an ex-lover… not a new or cherished one! Celebrated from February 13th – 15th, this was basically a “spring cleaning” holiday in which you would purge all unnecessary and toxic things out of your life – physically and spiritually! So Februa is actually a great alternative for those of you who aren’t down with all the lovey, dovey drool of what Valentines Day has become. Just remember in it’s most ancient form, this was a festival of renewal and newness, not coupling and commemoration. Water was the big element utilized during this holiday, so try working some water magic into your rituals during these three days every year!

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