What Holiday Is Being Celebrated in "Julius Caesar"?

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In the first act of William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," the Romans are celebrating the holiday of Lupercalia. This holiday, which was celebrated between February 13th and 15th, took its name from the she-wolf, or "lupa," that raised Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

The play opens with citizens celebrating Lupercalia by adorning statues of Caesar with garlands. The scene then shifts to Caesar himself, who is preparing for the formalities honoring the holiday. He reminds his wife, Calpurnia, to stand near the course of the Luperci, sacred runners whose touch carries the blessing of fertility. Later, the Roman masses cheer during the celebration as Julius Caesar rejects the crown that Mark Antony offers him. Hearing this, the conspirators begin to hatch their plans to assassinate Caesar.