The religious ceremonies were directed by the Luperci, the "brothers of the wolf", priests of Faunus, dressed only in a goatskin. During Lupercalia, a dog and two male goats were sacrificed. Two youths were anointed with the blood and afterwards ran round the Palatine Hill with thongs cut from the sacrificed goats in their hands. These were called Februa. Girls would line up on their route to receive lashes from these whips. This was supposed to ensure fertility. The name of the month of February is derived from the Latin februare, "to purify" (meant as one of the effects of fever, which has the same linguistic root).
In 494, the Lupercalia was replaced by Candlemas, the feast of the Purification of the Virgin.
See also: Roman festivals – Roman mythology