13 cool facts you didn’t know about Valentine’s d Lupercalia.

(Just in time for Fifty Shades of Grey! It includes whipping! -and wolves! What’s not to like?)



Valentine’s Day is upon us, and many of you know how I like to investigate and share fun information about holidays. So, keeping that in mind, I decided to share with you all some fun information I found on a holiday that predates Valentine’s Day by a bit! Please continue with caution as there are stories and images that fragile or vanilla minds may not want to experience. For all you others, come hither and learn a bit about the interesting holiday known as:






1. Lupercalia was celebrated beginning in 44 BC, though some say it may have started at the time of the founding of Rome (traditionally 753 B.C.). It began on the ides of February (in February, the ides are the 13th) and ended on the 15th.

Yeah, we slacked and made it a one-day thing.


2. Lupercalia was a Roman holiday to honor Lupercal/Lupercus, the god of fertility.

In Roman mythology, Lupercus is a god sometimes identified with the Roman god Faunus, who is the Roman equivalent of the Greekgod Pan. Lupercus is the god of shepherds. His festival, celebrated on the anniversary of the founding of his temple on February 15, was called the Lupercalia.



3. The festival was named after Lupa, the she-wolf. She’s known for suckling the founders of Rome: Romulus and Remus.


And folks, I say that’s what’s wrong with kids today: not enough wolf teet

- Stephen Colbert

(yes, The Colbert Report produced a bit on Lupercalia. I’ve linked it at the bottom! Stay tuned!)


whathappenedtoguentherlause at wordpress


4. The priests (Lupercies) would slaughter a goat for fertility and a dog for purification (some say it was two dogs, or two goats… one dog, two goats… who’s counting?)


via (original source unknown)



5. Thongs were cut from the goat skins, dipped in blood and then in milk, and the Lupercies would run around the city whipping people. Women in town would line up to be whipped, as this was considered a way to heighten their fertility and ease the pains of childbirth.



6. The Luperci were often two young men or two boys. After blood, laughing was involved. Yes, I’m serious.

Two of the Luperci were led to the altar, their foreheads were touched with a bloody knife, and the blood was wiped off with wool dipped in milk; the ritual required that the two young men laugh.

-Encyclopedia Britannica



7. The thongs were called FEBRUA (februa….. februa…. Sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it? … Sound it out.)



8. Some articles claim that the Luperci wore the skins of the sacrificed wolves/dogs whilst doing the whipping (perhaps leading to the early stories of werewolves?)







Well, little Jimmy, you know how halloween was once a pagan holiday and Christmas was about Krampus, or the winter solstice, or a bajillion other things prior to the Christian influences?? The Christians slyly took over this holiday as well.  Pope Gelasius I changed Lupercalia to celebrate St. Valentine in 496 AD to try to expel the pagan rituals. It eventually worked (seeing as though most of us aren’t whipped with leather thongs on valentine’s day…. most of us)


10. Why is Valentine associated with love in the first place?

At the time that the Roman Emperor, Claudis II had banned marriages for the army, St Valentine arranged marriages for the Roman Army men. This cost St. Valentine his life.


(source unknown)


11. As far as the new celebrations of Valentine’s day, it kept the same overall essence as it’s big sister, Lupercalia:

It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.

-Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder via NPR 



12.  I’m sharing this bit just because I love ze bard:

Lupercalia is celebrated during William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar.  Caesar instructs Mark Antony to strike Calpurnia in hopes the action will increase her fertility:


CAESAR (to Calpurnia)

Stand you directly in Antonius’ way,
When he doth run his course. Antonius!


Caesar, my lord?


Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
The barren touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse.

William Shakespeare



13. I’m sharing this bit just because I love ze Colbert:


The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,The Colbert Report on Facebook,Video Archive
(The Colbert Report did a bit on Lupercalia! Win!)




And in conclusion, to everyone, everywhere: I hope you have a fantastic Lupercalia!


Happy Lupercalia

The Lupercalian Festival in Rome (ca. 1578–1610), drawing by the circle of Adam Elsheimer, showing the Luperci dressed as dogs and goats, with Cupid and personifications of fertility







If you’d like to check facts, the links below are just a few of those that show my research:

(remember that the “facts” are just what we have gathered- it’s not a 100% certainty)


Encyclopedia Britannica


Ancient history at




Love holidays?


Click here to read my top 5 High Fives (yes, there is a holiday for that)


Click here for my Earth day celebratory post!



  • So, which are you celebrating? Lupercalia or Valentine’s Day?
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Why do people feel the need to give away the surprise moment in a story, the twist of a plot, or the end of a sporting event


If you haven’t yet gathered, this post is about



(…. but no spoiler alert. For any series or movie.  (yes, even Game of Thrones.) I promise guys. It would be silly of me to do a rant of sorts about spoilers AND give away a spoiler in the process.)


river song spoilers



I find it sad that I cannot mention to some people that I began watching a new TV series, or am about to watch a certain movie.  They don’t respect my desire to discover the story on my own time, in my own way.


I shared that I began watching Orange is the New Black and had someone “promise no spoilers” but then give a vague spoiler (hello, I’m smart enough to get it folks!!), thus spoiling what is one of the main thru-lines.


Not too long ago, a facebook friend gave a huge Game of Thrones spoiler away on their timeline THE MOMENT it happened. Now, I was watching it too at the same time –either way, I had read the books, so I knew what was going to happen– but it bothered me that they posted this so carelessly and ruined the episode for their friends.





People, it’s simple:



If you want to talk about something that happened in a story and you know it would be a surprise to anyone who is not where you are in the story:

  1. Post “SPOILER ALERT!!!!” very obviously early on in your post
  2. Give space before you actually write the spoiler
  3. …like this…
  4. It gives people time to realize they’re chasing a white rabbit… because perhaps they don’t want to….
  5. Then post the spoiler


Simple.  And then your friends *might* still like you.


Geico pig is showing you what NOT to do:



So, why do people do this to each other?

I feel as though anyone who does the spoiling is like the kid on the playground in elementary school chanting “I know something you don’t know….nah nah nah naah naaaaah!”


It seems as though they only care about themselves and how exciting it is that they know this secret — they are part of the “in club” because they’re in the know. This feeling is so exciting, they don’t realize they’re not showing respect and care to the other person. They’re not allowing the other person to experience the story on their own time.




Is this REALLY a big deal?  No, not really.  We’re not withholding the cure for cancer, nor removing all unicorns from the face of the planet, nor anything equally horrific.  But we’re ruining a story!


Perhaps it’s the theatre major in me. I love a good story. Heck, I love a bad story. Spoiling the story is like ripping the writer’s soul out of the piece. -It is like removing the READER‘S soul out of the piece. It is removing the joy of the journey.


We read a book – or watch a show/movie- to enjoy the journey; to experience what the characters experience.  To see parts of ourselves in the characters and feel the exultation of their joy, the deepness of their sorrow, the thrill of their triumph.  We go on this journey because we want to get wrapped up in their story, to be transported to their world, to be part of something bigger than ourselves.



And to take that away from someone is pretty small.




So just don’t spoil things, k guys?

friends don't let friends spoil stories.





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Disney Flower and Garden Festival- fun for kids big and small

The topiaries at the Flower and Garden festival were amazing, but did you know there’s a whole lot more?




Whether you’re a group of adults or a family with small children, you’re bound to find fun things around the park all day.



TinkerBell’s butterfly garden


The garden was in this screened-in tent area where butterflies were “free” to fly all about the place.  It was kind of magical to have them all around you.


~tink butterfly



~faerie 2

~faerie can


~pirate fairy



Fun food and drink stands


There are not as many as one would find at the Food and Wine Festival, but there are a decent amount.  It’s always fun to try new/different things!


~linie aquavit



Children play areas


There are a number of well-themed children play and activity areas.  If I came here with my family when I was a child, my dad would have brought us here and said “ok- now go and get your ya yas out!”

~kids monsters
~mike and sully


~ kids fun



And my favorite garden:





Friend me on untapped (museinitiative) to see my reviews of the beers.


There are many more things to see and do at the festival that I didn’t get to do (they do tours of the festival for example- I’m sure there’s plenty of awesome things to learn).  Click here to learn more.




To read more about the topiaries and see photos of them, click here.


Or if you’d rather, check out my post on geeky Cupcakes (click here)! I mean, Disney now owns Star Wars, so it’s fitting, right?


  • Have you been to the Flower and Garden festival?  What was your favorite part?


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Lunar eclipse!

For those of you who weren’t able to see the lunar eclipse this morning, here’s a post just for you!




The lunar eclipse occurred between 2-5am on April 15, 2014, EST.

If you missed it, don’t worry- this was not the only eclipse this year! There’s a solar eclipse later this month and another lunar eclipse in october!  Visit the NASA page here for more information.






What causes a lunar eclipse to happen?

  • A lunar eclipse takes place when the Earth is exactly in between the Sun and Moon.
  • The moon is normally this bright grey color, but it does not emit its own light.  Instead, the sun is lighting up the moon for us.
  • During the lunar eclipse, the Moon moves into the Earth’s shadow (or umbra).
  • The moon has a red hue during this time due to the refraction of sunlight through the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • It’s likely that the moon would be invisible (i.e. too dark to see) if the Earth had no atmosphere.
  • To learn more, click here.


wikipedia lunar eclipse alignment




I was hoping to get a few shots of the event- even with my limited camera and limited skills :)


I found my camera and zoom lens -still packed in my suitcase from my last work assignment- and set upon trying to find where in the house the tripod went. After texting my roommate (who was working very late), I find out it is not in the house anyway.  So, being resourceful, I make a camera tripod out of a music stand. Hey- work with what you got, right?

More shots of the beginning of the eclipse:

Tim Wilson. (Photo used with permission)

photo used with permission. Tim Wilson. @knipdlo on instagram


Below is an example of the same shot with slightly different settings.  One really brings out the red:






NPR posted this video about the eclipse.  Watch it!  You get to learn something AND giggle at the same time!  That’s how life should be.

You KNOW I love ridiculous videos…. Thank you, NPR


There was something lovely about just sitting outside for over an hour, watching the moon make its change (and listening to the dogs in the neighborhood bark a little more than expected… they must have known). Life is full of magic.


A more zoomed out shot





Cool stuff, eh?




  • Did you get to see the eclipse?  Did you take awesome photos?  Share a link or a story below!
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