The Dark Origin Of Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day has become an over-commercialized holiday in which couples, primarily the male is likely to be shunned by his female counterpart in the absence of a confectionery heart-shaped treat, jewelry, an elaborate dinner and in rare instances -- a marriage proposal. But have you ever asked yourself, who is this elusive St. Valentine I've been pledging fealty to all these years?

Though it's been proven difficult to pinpoint the true origin of Valentine's Day, the holiday has often been linked to a Pagan festival in ancient Rome called Lupercalia -- likely honoring either Lupa, the she-wolf of Rome who suckled Romulus and Remus or Faunus, their horned God of fertility. Lupercalia involves an animal sacrifice as well as the ritualistic beating of women with the hide of the slain animal to induce fertility for the upcoming year. The festival also included a matchmaking ceremony in which men and women were expected to (you know) for its duration.

Emperor Claudius II may be responsible for what we now know as Valentine's day. Around 3rd century A.D, he banned marriages because he wanted to stop love from interfering with the will of his army. A priest by the name of Father Valentine perceived the ban to be unfair and continued to secretly marry couples in love. The Emperor discovered Father Valentine's defiance and sentenced him to death. While incarcerated, the couples he secretly wed visited his cell, slipping him notes, flowers and other gifts of gratitude.

It is said that Father Valentine fell in love with his jailer's daughter. On February 14, the day he was executed -- he passed his beloved a note and signed it "From Your Valentine." Thus, a tradition was born.

To all the lovers out there, Valentine's Day is not about jewelry, chocolates and flowers galore (though they are nice to receive). I think it would be refreshing to show your significant other their worth with the gift of emotions (but what do I know). Happy Valentine's Day my darlings!
(Pictures via here, here, here and here)

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