Valentine’s day – a day you don’t even care about when you are a teenager, you hate in your 20s, you accept it in your 30s and celebrate in your 40s. But as it turns out, it wasn’t always a day of flowers, heart-shaped chocolates and romance.
There was a time when Valentine’s day meant sacrificing animals and slapping women with goat hide strips dipped in blood. But let’s take things one at a time.
Even though we can’t be 100% sure about the exact origins of Valentine’s day, historians seem to agree that this day was a mixture of the ancient, pre-Roman annual fertility festival of Lupercalia and the death of three different saints named Valentine who were beheaded on, or around, February 14th: (the article continues after the ad)
Lupercalia was an ancient, most probably pre-Roman festival that celebrated fertility. In ancient Rome, these celebrations took place between February 13th and February 15th. According to the tradition, the festivities began when Roman priests sacrificed one goat and one dog to the gods. They would then cut the goat hide into small stripes, dip them in the sacrificial blood and get out on the streets of Rome and start slapping women with it. Interestingly, women actually lined up for men to hit men as they believed that this would increase their fertility.
This brutal festival also included a matchmaking lottery – women would put their names in jar and men would pick a name. The couple would then stay together for the duration of the festival and, if the matching was right, for longer than that. And then came St. Valentine.
ST. VALENTINE’S DAY
To be honest, the exact origins of St. Valentine’s day (not Valentine’s Day but St. Valentine’s day) are unclear as there are at least three people named Valentine (or Valentinus), that are recognized as saints by the Catholic Church, and are all allegedly martyred around February 14th. To honor their martyrdom, the Catholic Church declared February 14th as St. Valentine’s day. (the article continues after the ad)
There are many theories connecting all of them with St. Valentine’s day, but the truth is that all are theories. What is not theory is the fact that in 496A.D., Pope Gelasius decided to end Lupercalia and combine it with St. Valentine’s day.
As time went by, especially since Lupercalia was a festival celebrating fertility, Valentine’s day became a day in which people exchanged love messages and gifts. And that is why, it became a tradition and Valentine’s day is associated with love and romance.