Sabrina’s Lupercalia sex festival is actually real and much darker IRL

12 April 2019, 17:09 | Updated: 12 April 2019, 17:19

By Katie Louise Smith

The raunchy sex festival that is shown in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 2, episode 3 is actually a real thing... and here's what happens during the real pagan event.

It's probably safe to say that season 2 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina took a much darker turn than the first season. Part 2 explored the arrival of the Dark Lord, terrifying visions and Tarot Card readings and ancient pagan traditions brought to life on screen.

In season 2, episode 3, Sabrina learns about the ancient pagan festival 'Lupercalia'. 'Brina believes it's kind of like the witch world's version of Valentine's Day but as Aunt Zelda explains, it's a little more spicy than that... well, depending on what you get up to on mortal Valentine's Day, of course.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 3: News, spoilers, Netflix release date, cast and trailers

"It's a lusty, pastoral festival started by the Roman witches under the reign of Caligula," Zelda explains. She goes on say the festival was "instituted as a means to the purify the city and increase health and fertility," until Aunt Hilda slides in and comments that it's now less about fertility and more about "blah-blah-blah."

SEX. SHE MEANS SEX. Lupercalia is basically one big ritualistic sex and fertility fest - and yes, it's a real celebration.

What is Lupercalia?

Sabrina's Lupercalia is a real pagan festival but it's much different in real life
Sabrina's Lupercalia is a real pagan festival but it's much different in real life. Picture: Netflix

The depiction of Lupercalia in Sabrina is not that far off what it is in real life. Lupercalia is described by History as a "bloody, violent and sexually-charged celebration awash with animal sacrifice, random matchmaking and coupling in the hopes of warding off evil spirits and infertility".

In Zelda's spiel about the festival, she says that it is "named after the Lupercal, the cave where the twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, were suckled by the She-Wolf." (Fun fact: the She-Wolf can also be seen in Ariana Grande's 'God is a woman' video. Arguably the most important depiction of the event.) (Just kidding. But seriously... it's in there.)

It’s thought that Lupercalia took place to honour the She-Wolf and please the Roman fertility god Lupercus.

Zelda described it as "a symphony of sensuality and pleasure." Participation is voluntary but, you know, if Nick Scratch wants you to be his Lupercalia date then, WHO ARE WE TO SAY NO?!

In Sabrina, Zelda explains the festival in three parts: The Matching - where you're paired with a random warlock, The Courting - where you and said warlock spend the night together in "unholy abstinence," and The Hunt - a run through the woods which climaxes in a frenzy of orgiastic carnality.

The real festival begins with men picking a woman at random from a jar. In Sabrina, there's a lovely game of musical chairs that decides which male the female will end up with. (Sabrina cheats the system and makes sure she ends up with Nick. Clever lil' witch that one.)

Sabrina's Lupercalia begins with a matching ceremony
Sabrina's Lupercalia begins with a matching ceremony. Picture: Netflix

The second part of the festival begins with two animal sacrifices - one or more male goats (a representation of sexuality) and a dog. Sabrina skips over this part of the festival but, the next part - the smearing of blood on the forehead and then laughing while the other person wipes it off with a milk-soaked cloth - is an accurate depiction of the festival.

In the early days of the festival, a group of Roman Priests carried out the rituals. Unlike in Sabrina, where everyone pairs off and does the ritual together, the original festival required two members of the group to carry out the tradition, naked in front of everyone. Far less romantic than a night with Nick Scratch alone in the woods in your boujee black underwear, huh?

Sabrina is paired up with Nick Scratch for Lupercalia
Sabrina is paired up with Nick Scratch for Lupercalia. Picture: Netflix

The final part of the festival is MUCH more darker than what we see in Sabrina. While Zelda calls it The Hunt, the real life Lupercalia concludes in The Feast, followed by a hunt.

After consuming the animal sacrifices, the men cut strips of goat hide and ran around naked, whipping any woman within striking distance. According to History, "many women welcomed the lashes and even bared their skin to receive the fertility consecration; it’s open to speculation what the lashes represented."

In Sabrina, the tradition is flipped on its head because duh, it's 2019! Why should men get to the hunting!? The women, dressed in red, chase their male partners, dressed as wolves, through the woods. When they're caught, they presumably engage in - as Zelda called it - a frenzy of orgiastic carnality. Basically, they have sex... in the woods. Sounds uncomfortable.

So there you have it! Lupercalia! A real festival! Now you know!