Last Updated on 2023/01/04
Februus, whose name means “purifier,” was the deity of purification in pre-Christian Roman religion.
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The Etruscans also revered him as a deity of purification and the underworld under the same name. In addition to being the god of wealth (money/gold) and death for the Etruscans, Februus also had a loose connection to the underworld, much like the more well-known Roman god Pluto.
Februus could have evolved into the Roman goddess of fever, Febris (febris in Latin means fever). These may be related to fever sweating, which was thought to be a purgative, washing, and purification process.
Februus may have been called in homage to the older festival of washing and purification known as Februa (also Februalia and Februatio). English February, the holy month of Februus, was Februarius (of Februa), called for the Februa/februalia spring purification festival that took place on the 15th of that month.
The Roman celebration of Lupercalia, which honored the wolf who nursed Romulus and Remus as well as the Faun, took place around the same time as these springtime purifying practices. During this festival, expiatory sacrifices and ceremonial purifications were also carried out. The two deities (Faun and Februus) were frequently regarded as one because of this connection.
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