For some, Valentine’s Day is one of the most romantic and joyous days of the year, filled with items such as candy hearts, chocolate boxes and overly cliche, life-sized teddy bears that girls like. Other people dislike the holiday, mostly due to loneliness and their lack of receiving said cliche teddy bear. However, no matter your stance on Valentine’s Day, you should be aware of the fact that the history of it isn’t as lively as some have been led to believe.
The holiday began long ago during a Roman festival, entitled Lupercalia. This happened each year from the 13th of February to the 15th. Lupercalia was an occasion where the men would sacrifice both a goat and a dog. They would take the skins of these animals and cover them in a fusion of the animals’ blood. Then the men would head off into town where they would essentially harass women in order to increase their fertility. Men would then pick which women they desired, and, in many cases, this selection process would then lead to marriage. The marriage aspect of this event displeased the Roman emperor, Claudius II, for he believed that the reason men did not want to be placed into his army was because they were all too wrapped up in their marriages. As a result, he decided to ban the act of marriage.
Soon after the ban, a man named St. Valentine started espousing people against the emperor’s wishes. This, of course, angered Claudius II, and eventually lead to St. Valentine’s decapitation on February 14th, the day that is now known as Valentine’s Day. Following his death, Valentine was deemed a saint and a symbol of romance for his commitment to marriage.
Although Valentine’s Day is still a tragedy for some, at least people no longer slaughter farm animals in order to honor the day.
(Copyright Kayleah Strunk 2020)