Close your eyes, clear your mind and imagine blood dripping down your face, growling and hungry wolves and ancient fearsome hunters. Good, now you have a pretty good picture of the Lupercali Festival embedded into your mind.
In the ancient times the Romans held the Lupercali Festival every year and it honored young novice hunters and their first kill. February 15 was when the god Lupercus, represented as a wolf, inspired men to act like wolves and becoming werewolves.
To get the festival started they first sacrificed a goat, one of the god Lupercus‘ animals, which represented the masses of humans that flocked to areas in attempt to build permanent homes. After the goat they then sacrificed a dog (also the god‘s animal), who is the watchful protector of the flock that would be thrown to the wolves to be ripped to shreds.
The hunters then mixed the blood of the goat and the dog, after this they would dip a knife into the mixture and then would slowly drag the blade across the foreheads of two noble born children. Once the children had been “blooded,” the blood is wiped off with a piece of wool that had been soaked in milk. While this cleaning happen the two children are expected to laugh, this was to show that they weren’t afraid of the blood and that they now knew that they were magically protected against wolves and werewolves.
Some scholars believe that this festival and these activities came from an older version of the Lupercali Festival. In the older festival the smearing of the blood on the forehead indicated that the recipient had been “wolf blooded” and would forever on be a lone outlaw, a wolfman, a werewolf.
Scholars also say that the Lupercali Festival took place in the Lupercal, a cave were it is believed the twins Romulus and Remus were raised by the she-wolf.