Scotland 2016: Folklore, Legends, and the Highlands

img_20160520_125507229_hdrAfter the tragedy in Invermoriston there was to be no more hiking in our futures.  We were unable to finish hiking the Great Glen Way all the way to Inverness, but we still had accommodations along the way.  We took cabs instead, and still got to experience the beauty and history of the highlands without the hiking aspects.  The good news is, we have an excuse to go back!!

From Invermoriston we took a cab up to Drumnadrochit, where were told, the villagers had already heard all about the man with the sore leg.  Not to be totally hobbled by his accident and to his credit, Charles managed to limp around town to attractions and sites, and we had a whole day to explore the traditional home of Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.

Castle Urqhart from the vessel Nessie Hunter

Castle Urqhart from the vessel Nessie Hunter

We started our time in Drumnadrochit with a ride around Loch Ness on Nessie Hunter. Our guide himself claims to have seen something unexplained in the water, and we also got to learn about the history of the area, the geography and geology, and folklore surrounding Nessie.  The guide also pleasingly sounded just like Sean Connery. Back on dry land we headed to the shops to stock up on Nessie gear.

Perfect rainy day with Tony Robinson and Time Team

Perfect rainy day with Tony Robinson and Time Team

In addition to the exploring and good food, we also had a lot of time to experience the awesomeness that is British television.  From the shocking (to our US sensibilities) Embarrassing Bodies, to vet shows, to cop shows, and the Benedict Cumberbatch version of Richard III and my favorite, Time Team, we had plenty of telly time.  Our second day in Drumnadrochit was rainy and perfect for TV times and snacks and hot chocolate and leg recuperation.

img_20160522_114943The next day was our final leg (ahahahahaha) of the Great Glen Way, and we arrived in Inverness not in a triumph having completed the 70+mile hike but instead limping out of a cab.  We still took a picture with the Great Glen Way sign, because one way or another, we traveled it all.

I got a Cafe Nero fix, and we explored the town as best we could.  Our last B&B on the trip, Inverglen Guest House, was a delight, and I’m still thinking about the chai muffins we had for breakfast there, Susan.

Our last full day in the Highlands, I booked a day trip to the Isle of Skye, since everyone we know who had been to Scotland said we couldn’t miss it.  As I was reading the description of the tour the night before, I noticed we would make a stop in Invermoriston to see the Telford bridge and falls.  Charles was not as please, but I was thrilled to have a chance to revisit the scene of the crime and get some more photos.img_20160523_100814123

From Invermoriston (again), we headed west to the Isles of the Highlands. What a simply breathtaking area.  All of our friends were right.  We stopped at Eilean Donan castle by Kyle of Lochalsh, which is one of the most picturesque and most photographed castles in Scotland.  Along the road to the Isle of Skye we saw Wild Goats, which if you know anything about me, completely made my trip. A tour around the island, a stop in Portree for snacks and souvenirs, and before we knew it we were back on the road to Inverness.

img_20160523_113410819-01On our last morning, we explored Inverness one last time, and found the famous Leakey’s Bookshop and a few charity shops.  At a shopping centre I came across a music store and impulse bought a practice chanter so I can learn to someday play the bagpipe.  Or just stick to the chanter to the delight of my dog and cat who LOVE to sing along… so far I can play the Skye Boat Song (Outlander Theme), a few Christmas songs, and the Olympic Theme (which I played at every opportunity last summer.  Everyone loved it).

That Isle of Skye tho

That Isle of Skye tho

After a few hours on the train we were back in Edinburgh where we had a chance to explore more of New Town since our previous visit had confined us to Old Town and the Royal Mile.  A Sainsbury’s run for tea and Mars Bars and Toffee Crisps, one last tea experience, last souvenirs bought, and it was back on a plane to the US before we knew it.

Bye, Edinburgh! Until 2017!

Bye, Edinburgh! Until 2017!

It was a fantastic trip and everything we could have imagined.  The leg injury turned out to be a boon; because of it, I’ve managed to convince Charles that his mistake was going to cost him (us) another trip!  Next week we head back to Scotland, with a side tour in Ireland, to wrap up the Great Glen Way.  From Fort Augustus to Inverness, we will do the last half of the hike and truly earn our GGW hiking patch and certificate. Bon voyage!


Scotland Travels 2016: History, Hiking, and Heritage; Pt. 3: Highlands

Can we move here please?

Can we move here please? Views from the train

After our adventures in the lowland cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, we hoped on a train and headed to the highlands; first stop: Fort William.

This leg of our trip was devoted to the Great Glen Way. We used the inimitable Mac’s Adventure travel group to plan and make this trip a reality, and I can not recommend them more.  The long-distance trail is about 71 miles long, through the highlands, and links Fort William to Inverness. The trail follows the major natural faultline of the Great Glen which divides Scotland from coast to coast.  We decided to do the hike over 7 days.5932-56-userimage5-500x500

We started with an extra day in Inverness, which gave us the opportunity to hike to the top of Cow Hill and enjoy the continued amazing spring weather. Before we started our hike, we went to a little shop in town and got the most delicious filled rolls. We saw sheep, a couple of dogs, and a cat, but sadly no coo. We also got to see Ben Nevis, the highest point in Britain.  Someday we hope to return and scale the mountain!

Views from Cow Hill

Views from Cow Hill

Inverlochy Castle

Inverlochy Castle

The next day we prepared to start our 71 mile hike.  We stopped in town at the West Highlands Museum to learn more about the Jacobite rebellion and life in the northern reaches of the British Isles.  At the beginning of our hike we got to stop in and explore the Old Inverlochy Castle ruins. Magical! We grabbed lunch on the sides of Neptune’s Staircase loch system, then got to the real business of the walk. The rest of the day was spent walking along the canal towpaths, a real feat of Scottish engineering. We stayed at a nice B&B in Gairlochy, and grabbed the most delicious dinner in Spean Bridge at Russell’s.  I must be hungry, because all I can think about is all these great Scottish meals we had… After dinner, we were exhausted by the first day of hiking, and looking forward to another day on the path.

img_20160518_145631The next morning, we met a great couple, Matt and Sandy, at breakfast.  They were also on the hike, and avid walkers from England. We ran into them at several of our accommodations and along the trail, and they were a delight! The most important thing they taught me was to bring a thermos on the next trip to take tea for a mid-morning hiking break.

We continued on Laggan the next day. This was a memorable day with nice weather at the beginning of the hike, lovely woods and shoreside hikes, and a nice detour into Cameron lands. Sadly the Cameron museum was closed, but we did have the opportunity to take a nice side-tour to see the Chia-aig waterfall, of Rob Roy fame. We crested the hill, greeted by sheep, and headed down the hill into Laggan.  A small town, our hosts were nice enough to drive us to a hotel for dinner (steak and ale pie with chips!!).  We spent the evening in the parlor with some British couples, and rested up for yet another day of hiking.

Charles and Nessie in Fort Augustus

Charles and Nessie in Fort Augustus

From Laggan, we moved on towards Fort Augustus, one of the larger towns in the Highlands.  Most of this day was canal paths, woods, and old train routs.  When we reached the end of the canals, we saw a new, welcome sight!  Fort Augustus is home to the end of Loch Ness, so we immediately began looking for the monster. We stayed in a neat place called Abbey Cottage, built in 1760. Little did we know we’d soon make a return journey to Fort Augustus…

img_20160519_114004242_hdr-01The next morning, the real hiking began. We were no longer on nice flat canal tow paths or gentle hills along the lochs.  We were through the woods, steep steep, up up, all the way to the top of hills just like you’ve seen in the movies.  Below us, Loch Ness, the tiny speck of Fort Augustus and the canal locks behind us, and wilderness all around.  It was perfect and beautiful, and made even better by the bacon sandwich I had saved from breakfast for the moment we crested the hills. We enjoyed the views all morning, and by the afternoon we were headed down the path into the small village of Invermoristen.

More on Invermoristen and the tragedy that occurred there next week!  Here are some photos of the way so far:


Scotland Travels 2016: History, Hiking, and Heritage; Pt. 1

And now for something completely different from the most recent series. Travel. Travel that involves history and hiking. Living the dream.

Cemetery times!

Cemetery times!

As soon as our final grades were submitted at the end of our first academic year at Coastal, my husband and I finally left the country on our honeymoon.  #ClaryWeeHighlandHoneymoon2016 was an amazing success. Walked/hiked: over 115 Miles. Spotted: a million sheep and bebe lambs, 1 Elton John twin, a handful of coo, a couple dozen deer and stags, 2 wild goats, 1 Prince, and a hundred black slugs. Gained: 3 stitches and a highland battle scar, as well as a bruise that goes on for days, lotsa tweed, a fancy sporran, one bruised ego, a bagpipe chanter, and lovely memories to last a lifetime. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We started our trip in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Soon after we landed in Auld Reekie we set out on the town to see Greyfriar’s Kirk and cemetery and a quick jaunt up Arthur’s Seat. After a delicious dinner at our hotel (which used to be the old Edinburgh Bedlam Asylum – perfect!) and a fried Mars bar, we rested up for a full day of exploring.

img_20160511_115410160Our second day in Edinburgh, we headed to the National Library of Scotland where we had noticed the day before they had an exhibit on about Plague! Very fortuitous that all my favorite things were happening while we were there.  The exhibit was a great display of documents and records, books, related sources, maps, and a lot of wet specimens the library had for whatever reason (that I highly approve of).  The exhibit cases were especially impressive, as they were coffins you opened to see the info inside!  Marketing for the exhibit, which caught our eye the day before, was also brilliant, as you followed rat stickers up the steps to the exhibit. Perfection.

img_20160511_160324A bit of meandering and lunch at the library, and we were off again.  We caught all the main sites: Edinburgh Castle, the most amazing vintage store ever, Armstrong and Sons in Grassmarket, Elephant House where JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book, and the Tartan weaving exhibition that explained how kilts are made. We also stopped in the oldest pub in Edinburgh, which became a theme of the trip (oldest pubs in towns, not just pubs in general, though, that, too).

Gorgeous National Museum of Scotland

Gorgeous National Museum of Scotland

Next, we stopped in the National Museum of Scotland, but we only had a short amount of time, as they were closing in one hour.  We did a quick tour of the natural history, saw some Robert the Bruce and William Wallace swords, played with the interactive, and headed on out as the docents closed things down.

After shopping and wandering, we decided to give Mary King’s Close a shot.  I was a bit wary of the set-up, since I’d heard it was a bit cheesy and silly, but I also didn’t want to pass up the chance to see a set-up of a reconstructed close.  The close in Edinburgh was a staple of life for people in the overcrowded city, and still is today to an extent.  Closes today are no longer (usually) cesspools of disease crammed with tenement housing, though if you head off the Royal Mile you may see one.

img_20160512_002531Heading into Mary King’s Close to purchase tickets, we noticed a crowd outside St. Giles Cathedral.  We asked a policeman what was going on, and by the saints, THE PRINCE was inside.  Not Prince William or Prince Harry… and the Queen and Kate Middleton were no where in site… but Charles, Prince of Wales, future king of England (unless EII outlives us all).  We had already purchased timed tickets, so I resigned myself to not getting to see royalty on this trip and headed into eh undersides of Edinburgh.

The Mary Kings Close attraction was actually a delight.  We had a fantastic guide (Thanks Chris. T!!) and the site made good use of personal stories, creepy mannequins, and technologies.  We even got a photo with Chris T. as a souvenir.

The Prince!!

The Prince!!

We left Mary King’s Close to head back to the asylum, er hotel, and lo and behold – the Prince was still at the cathedral.  A very nice officer allowed us to stand with him to watch for the royal to leave.  And I had the absolute best possible view as he drove by and on to Holyrood.  I finally got to see a royal.  He may not have been my 1st, 2nd, or 6th choice, but he was a royal and it made my day.  History!!!

Next day, on to Glasgow, home of my ancestral spirit animal, Great Grandma Greta. Coming up next….

More on Sneakily Teaching Public History

I’ve talked recently about the big Public History term project I do in my HIST101 foundation classes, but today I want to talk a little bit more about other ways to sneakily teach Public History in the foundations classroom.

phwordlemostlyhorizontal350Teaching as an adjunct teaching associate for the past 2 years has been a blast.  While it was hard to leave the museum world where I served as an Executive Director of a small historic house for 2 years, the opportunity to engage with undergraduates in history (and graduate students this year!) has been wonderful. I have generally taught a few sections of HIST101 – Foundations of European Civilization Part 1 with some public history and museum courses mixed in as well.  I couldn’t very well just teach a generic 101 class – I had to put my own personal spin on it.

Apart from the grant, smaller public history and museum assignments lead up to and complement the course throughout the semester.  The first assignment I generally do explores UNESCO world heritage sites in preparation for the grant.  I also spice up the class with museum ethics, cultural patrimony, human remains (eww!), and popular culture.  Here are a few notes on those projects that I rotate throughout the year:

me absolutely fan-girting with the elgin marbles

me absolutely fan-girling with the Elgin Marbles

  1. When the class is getting ready to discuss the cultures of ancient, archaic, and classical Greece, we spend one class period discussing the Elgin Marbles and cultural patrimony.  I’m always so interested to hear the analogies they come up with.  My favorite this year was a comparison of the Elgin Marbles to a child in foster care; perhaps Greece didn’t have the skills to take care of the Elgin Marbles at first, so Britain took them in.  Now Greece has a new job and safe house, but the British Museum wants to adopt and thinks the marbles are now theirs. We also take this opportunity to talk about current events with history in the Middle East, human remains, and more. I never know where the conversation will lead.
  2. The discussion on cultural patrimony is then translated into a museum artifacts assignment.  Students must explore museum collections websites and find 3 artifacts (mummies, temples, paintings, whatever) and discuss them as primary sources.  Then the students engage in a written discussion about who “owns” each artifact, if they think it should be somewhere else, and why it is important.300
  3. Some semesters I include an assignment that compares and contrasts a film and documentary about the same topic.  I have a whole 2 page spreadsheet of films and corresponding documentaries that relate to our class (300, Cleopatra, Kingdom of Heaven, Knight’s Tale, etc.).  Students watch the documentary first, then the film, and try to find inaccuracies or simplifications.  I’m always surprised at the number of students who admit they prefer the documentaries.
  4. Pop culture and history – students must identify 3 UNEXPECTED references to history in pop culture.  Examples include True Blood references to maenads, everything in Harry Potter, and a lot of things from the Hunger Games.  My all-time favorite, though, was trojan condoms.  The student astutely mentioned that knowing the history, this may not be the best example of history in advertising.
  5. One fall when I knew I would be missing class, I made up that time by having students research the origins of various Halloween-y things (zombies, black cats, witches, jack-o-lanterns).  Halloween is my favorite holiday,  and I find that students enjoyed this as well.
  6. My all-time favorite assignment that I do is an extra credit assignment based on  StoryCorps. I will save that for its own post, because it is so fantastic.

I’m always looking for new ideas and additions to these assignments – do you have any? I’m looking to totally re-vamp my curriculum for the Fall semester, and I can’t wait!


The {Ominous} Grant Project: Part 2

So back to this Grant Project that I use for my HIST101 classes.  My last post, “Sneaking Public History into General Education Classes” introduced this project, so have a look at that if you haven’t already.

grant-artLast fall I had 2 HIST101 classes of around 60 students total which provided a pretty great sample size for feedback on the project as a whole.  I collected student feedback through reflective essays at the end of the semester.  Rather than just telling you what I think about this project, here are some of the student thoughts and suggestions:

  • I very much so enjoyed this project better than a research paper, I enjoyed it because it was more real life, we got to put together our own project and really look into the lives of people who actually do this.
  • This grant project taught me a lot. I learned that there is a lot of information out there, however not all the information is right. I learned the importance of doing thorough research so that way you can provide the right information. I also learned that grant proposals are a process, so it was good that we spaced it out since the beginning of the semester.

This project allows us to express ourselves as students and hypothetical executives. I believe students will take more from this than they would an irritable final exam. Regarding the grant, my favorite part was putting together the presentation. I felt like a real life director of a real life protection group, it was cool.

  • This project challenged my academic and creative skills, which would make this project more beneficial to my growth as a student.
  • 3 things I have learned from the project as a whole come from different aspects of the project. One life lesson I learned, is to learn to give and take. Working with two other people, disagreements are inevitable. Learning to listen and add to someone’s ideas is good tactic for not just this project but future jobs too. Two things I learned about the actual criteria of this project, is that there are a lot of overlooked sites in the World that need restoration and protection, most likely because of the shortage of resources provided. Lastly, I learned to be even more grateful for the men and woman who serve in the United States army. I read a lot of primary journals of U.S. soldiers who risked their lives to protect the World’s history, and to me that is inspiring.

images-2The biggest challenges for me as the instructor:

  • Student procrastination and subsequent end of semester panic
  • Lots of information to grade, especially with so many students
  • Explaining cost-sharing and budgets in a history class
  • Trying to fit in even more to a class that is supposed to cover European civilization from the Paleolithic to 1648CE. Which is especially hard for me since it’s basically impossible to recognize “Europe” as a place in a vacuum.  [our new curriculum at CCU should make this easier, soon!!!]

If you’re interested in seeing the actual grant documents or assignment information, please feel free to contact me! Next up, other sneaky public history projects in general ed classes.

Sneaking Public History into General Education Classes

ncph-2016-mockup-1200x735Last year at the National Council on Public History conference in Baltimore, Maryland, I  attended one of the best sessions I’ve been to at a conference in a long time.  It was so relevant to my current work teaching Public History AND general education courses at CCU.  The session was all about teaching public history and using public history in the core curriculum classes.  As I listened to these ideas from colleagues around the country, I realized I was already doing this, and also that there was so much still left to learn and adapt.

As soon as I got back to South Carolina I began to work to adapt one of the coolest projects I learned about at NCPH for my own Western Civ part 1 class. One of the panelists, Nicole Hill from Valencia College, was so kind and helpful to send me her drafts of the project.  After a little bit of tweaking for my own class, I ran what I call “The Great {Ominous} Grant Project” as a pilot in my HIST101 Fall 2016 semester, courses and by (almost) all accounts, it was a success!

c73d1010498d0b62612a57862a88be46I plan to go more into detail on the student responses and outcomes from the project in the next blog, and subsequent blogs will also tackle some of the other projects I go in my 101 classes.

The problem with teaching World and European Civ classes, especially as an adjunct, is that oftentimes the large classes, or sheer number of courses, make it hard to do group work or papers or other critical thinking exercises.  The idea of bringing what I did in museums and my life as a public historian to the classroom seemed like a no-brainer.  Bringing Public History to the regular history class also gives us the opportunity to get students engaged in class when they arent history students.  

Nicole had all kinds of tips and tricks to sneak in preservation, museum ethics, and more into the lecture.  By showing students what historians, archaeologists, or museum workers do in the real actual world, it helps students understand what they do as well as what problems are involved that also relate to general education SLOs.  

UNESCO World Heritage List

UNESCO World Heritage List

The way I’ve adapted and used “The Grant Project” in my courses is this; I begin the semester by explaining my background and how I got into teaching, as well the opportunities people have in history other than just being professors or teachers.  Throughout the semester we discuss real-world scenarios based on the typical curriculum of a HIST 101 course.  A great example is a case study on the Elgin Marbles and the ownership of historical artifacts; students get so into taking a side on the issue that the resulting class discussion is always entertaining.  We also do assignments throughout the semester related to museum artifacts, UNESCO world heritage sites, popular culture, and others.

holiday_2513727b-650_031815055308Once they know a little about public history and its applications, we begin the Grant Project process.  Students start by looking at the UNESCO or World Monument Funds sites and choosing 3 sites they find interesting to write a short paper about.  From those 3, the students choose 1 to focus on for the rest of the semester either in groups of up to 3 students, or on their own.  The grant itself is a 6 page document that they must fill out, a basic budget, and a couple writing portions about how they would spend a fictitious $100,000 on their chosen site, and also on the historical significance of the site. After turning in the application, students present the information for their final exam.  Students evaluate each group, and the top 3 as voted by the class receive extra credit.

Through this process they learn several things that I value most in my courses.  Among those skills are:

  • Time management and non-procrastination
  • Critical thinking and questioning
  • Persuasive writing
  • Cultural heritage awareness and importance
  • The actual cost of protecting historic sites and artifacts
  • Cultural patrimony issues
  • Historic research methods
  • Maybe a little bit a historic place or culture
  • Presenting and being comfortable speaking academically

Tall orders for a foundations/gen ed class!

This blog is getting away from me, so I’ll save the details and examples for the next blog.  Stay tuned!

International Women’s Day

Today’s regularly scheduled blog post on sneakily teaching Public History in the general education class has been rescheduled for next week in honor of International Women’s Day and the Day Without a Woman Strike.

And here are some (not at all comprehensive) links about women everyone should know about:




Behind the Scenes in Charleston

OLLI at the Museum

OLLI at the Museum

A few weeks ago I was so happy to lead a group from Coastal Carolina University Osher Life-Long Learning Institute to Charleston, South Carolina.  OLLI’s new “On the Road with a CCU Professor” program was a perfect opportunity for me to share my love for museums and public history with a new audience.  We started our day nice and early, leaving from campus, and we headed down the highway and the coast towards The Holy City.

Old Slave Mart Museum, from NPS

Old Slave Mart Museum, from NPS

Our museum visits started with a stop at the Old Slave Mart Museum, a National Parks site. The building is located on one of the last cobblestone streets in Charleston and it is the only known extant building used as a slave auction gallery in South Carolina. Contrary to popular belief, this building is where slave auctions were held, not the city market.  We had a very informative talk with their educator about the history of slavery in the Americas and the history of the building itself.  Comments and questions from the attendees rounded off our visit.



After lunch at Hyman’s Seafood, we went on the Charleston Museum.  At this museum we were lucky to get a Behind the Scenes curator tour, and we got to spend time in the collections storage areas talking with curators about their jobs.  We got to see fossils that were over 26 million years old, amazing textiles including shoes, an 18th century dress reminiscent of my Felicity American Girl doll, an amazingly embroidered waistcoat, and a ton of old poisonous medicinal bottles. And a sad, badly taxidermies baby buffalo, which I did not get a photo of.

It was a gorgeous, sunny, only slightly chilly day to spend in Charleston, and I hope the students all got a glimpse of why I love public history and museums so much.  Now to go volunteer at a museum an touch all the artifacts….

Next up, New York City for the Art on Paper fair! See you soon, NYC!

Happy Lupercalia!

Ah Lupercalia… er, Valentine’s Day? There is a lot of interesting history about the origins of Valentine’s Day, St. Valentine, et cetera et al. I want to talk about the OG Valentine’s Day today, though.

Ooh-la-la: Pan with a She-Goat, from Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibit at the British Museum.

Ooh-la-la: Pan with a She-Goat, from Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibit at the British Museum.

Lupercalia. A Roman festival (perhaps Pre-Roman, Greek festival of Pan)  celebrating the god Lupercus or Faunus. This combines so many of my favorite things: pagan festivals, history, the Classical world, Pan/Faunus, and of course, goats!

Lupercalia, traditionally celebrated on February 15, was a combination of many things; one of the most important was as a celebration of the wolf who suckled and raised Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome. Anyone who has read the Harry Potter series will recognize two words here: Remus and Lup(in). Therefore, the word Lupercalia literally means wolf festival.

The Capitoline Wolf suckling Romulus and Remus in the  Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome

The Capitoline Wolf suckling Romulus and Remus in the Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome

At the Roman festival, priests of the god Faunus, a goat-like god of farms and forests and the Roman equivalent of the Greek nature god Pan, would sacrifice dogs and goats to the god. These priests were called the Luperci, the “brothers of the wolf.” They would be anointed with the blood of the sacrifices, and the celebrations would start. The priests would dress in the goat-skins of the fresh sacrifices, and the real fun would begin.

Statue of a Luperci with his whip. Whipping it good.

Statue of a Luperci with his whip. Whipping it good.

The luperci, dressed in their fresh goat skins, would run the borders of the Palatine city, leather thongs (not that kind of thong) in hand, happily whipping the women and girls who lined up for the privilege of being (literally)

hit on by the priests to bring about fertility and ease the pains of childbirth.

Plutarch described it thus:

“Lupercalia.. was anciently celebrated by shepherds, and has also some connection with the Arcadian Lycaea… many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy.”

Once Christianity expanded and pagan rituals and festivals were often outlawed (Thanks Theodosius), pagan rituals were often rebranded and repackaged as new, holy, Christian festivals.  This might be the case with Lupercalia and Saint Valentine’s Day, though primary sources are often muddled and hard to interpret.  Some scholars indicate that a pope in the 5th century combined the two holidays to keep the peace and encourage Christian worship.

Regardless, the parallels here are obvious. Love, lust, men hitting on women, the undeniable passions of the wild naked people running through the streets…. well maybe some parallels are obvious, at least.