Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


 (lo͞o′pər-kā′lē-ə, -kāl′yə)
A fertility festival in ancient Rome, celebrated on February 15 in honor of the pastoral god Lupercus.

[Latin Lupercālia, from Lupercus, Roman god of flocks.]

Lu′per·ca′li·an adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -lia or -lias
(Historical Terms) an ancient Roman festival of fertility, celebrated annually on Feb 15. See also Saint Valentine's Day
[Latin, from Lupercālis belonging to Lupercus, a Roman god of the flocks]
ˌLuperˈcalian adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌlu pərˈkeɪ li ə, -ˈkeɪl yə)
n., pl. -li•a, -li•as.
a festival held in ancient Rome on the 15th of February to promote fertility and ward off disasters.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
This character is now regarded as quintessentially Irish but scholars now think that leipreachan, and its earlier form lupracan, is not even a native Irish word but one derived from the Luperci, a group associated with the Roman festival of Lupercalia. This included a purification ritual involving swimming and like the Luperci, leprechauns are associated with water in what may be their first appearance in early Irish literature.
While South African women pin the names of the men they love on their sleeves, an ancient Roman tradition known as Lupercalia, Italians exchange BaciPerugina - small, chocolate-coated hazelnuts wrapped with a romantic piece of writing done in four languages.
An Ancient Roman festival called "Lupercalia" is celebrated every 14th of February.
Others believe it was the Christian church's way of Christianizing the Pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture.
13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.
The practice is said to come from an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia.
Pope Gelasius declared the day as Valentine's Day because it is claimed he wanted to 'Christianize' the Pagan fertility festival Lupercalia, which was commemorated the next day.
How he became the patron saint of lovers remains a mystery, but one theory is that the church used the day of St Valentine's martyrdom to Christianise the old Roman Lupercalia, a pagan festival held around the middle of February.
Like the ancient Romans celebrated Lupercalia on what's now St Valentine's Day.
It's thought the tradition came from the Roman festival of health, vitality and Lupercalia - which was celebrated in February.
It's also customary for women in South Africa to wear their hearts on their sleeves on February 14; women pin the names of their love interest on their shirtsleeves, an ancient Roman tradition known as Lupercalia. In some cases, this is how South African men learn of their secret admirers.