Onmyōdō: Pagan Purification, Lupercalia, & St. Valentine’s Day Chocolates

I offer a truce that will bring balance and peace to the Yin-Yang of the Singles vs Couples annual war! In Roman history and mythology, some researchers found that the Lupercalia festival which was linked to the Lakaia  of Arkadia is actually the source of Valentine’s Day.


The Yin, The Singles:

These Lakaian wolves lived in the highlands of the Peloponnese in ancient Greece, and the most famous of them was Lupa, foster mother of Rome’s founders Romulus & Remus whom she suckled as infants.

Somewhere along the line, the month of February got its name from Februa (Roman ritual purification festival), which was later adopted into Lupercalia and set during the Ides of February. Usually between the 13th and 15th, a fixed date was finally set by the Catholic Church in the year 496AD, specifically by Pope Gelasius the 1st. The only record of any saint linked to that date was St. Valentine, hence the Cupid-shot lords and ladies of that time wrote it into history.


The horned deity Faunus had an unclear role in this entire scenario, but as the highly fertile God of the shepherds, he was thought to have crossed paths with Lupa, and his goatskin-clad priests who worshiped him during the 5th century where the subject of the attention of the Church, even without the support or interest of Mark Antony. The pagan rituals of goat and dog sacrifices were later only practiced during the Lupercalian festivities, but were soon shutdown by Pope Gelasius I.

This mythological cocktail that Valentine’s Day originated from  Lupercalia was sought after by researchers such as Kellog and Cox, but somehow there is no (known) existing record of Pope Gelasius I terminating the Lupercalian pagan festivities by enforcing the dominant purification ritual of Februa,  nor was there any notion that Lupercalia festival was replaced by Valentine’s Day.

Hence, the Yins can find solace in the fact that the entire Valentine’s Day is just a byproduct of Lupercalian and try to shoot back at the dangerous fat flying Cupid.

The Yang, The Couples:

But even as the forlorn Yin Singles may take refuge in this mythological and historical cocktail, their smirking at the deluded and lustful Yang’s of the world will go largely unnoticed by the lovey-dovey couples who keep only one notion in mind: Valentine Gifts!

While the New York version dictates fancy restaurants, high observation decks, and cruise boats, the Beirut version is rather mellow in comparison. Even though our diverse and contradictory society narrates certain boundaries, it does not limit the amount of creativity and effort necessary for a metaphorical “I Love You”. Roses, chocolates, dates, cards, surprises, and romantic sneak-away vacations are all part of the package, and our constantly evolving community has come up with even more creative, custom-made, Lebanese ideas.

Last year’s theme was mainly public ornaments and car decorations (correct me if I’m wrong), and our generation has largely accepted this into our culture (Despite religious figures blatant disapproval) going all out and spending countless hours and hundreds of dollars trying to please this year’s soul-mate into a mushy soup of love. Well, this year certainly looks even more promising.

The Yangs have struck the Yins with a deadly blow: Bouquets! Not roses nor violets, but yummy chocolates. Yes, Bouqe’ Sucre’ offers chocolate bouqets, custom made for your better half (Or something like that). Found first on Instagram, then moved across different platforms, I think they’ll have their hands full this week.

Chocolate Bouquets

Honestly, I want to buy myself a bouquet and indulge, but my narcissistic ego will just have to be fed by the fact that I’m an Aquarius who’s watching the scale.

Onmyōdō: The Way Of the Yin and The Yang.

Despite the lure of the Yang’s chocolate, I find myself trying to side with the Yin’s this year. All the history behind Valentine’s Day just makes it seem so fake. But somehow my better better judgement takes over, and I realize that it’s human nature to look for compassion. It’s the fuel for an ultimate flame, to have someone witness the rest of your life. I’ve always said that we should change ourselves and try to affect our community in a positive and constructive way. This is the only way that we can reach unity as a humane society, without forcing our beliefs on others.

Just love yourself.

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