What is the origin of Valentine’s Day? Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate romance, love and loyalty to the face of kissing.
But the origins of this festival of sweets and cupids are actually dark, bloody and a bit confusing. Although no one has identified the exact origin of the vacation, a good place to start is in ancient Rome, where men hit women by hitting them.
Those wild and crazy Romans
From February 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the Lupercalia party. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, and then beat the women with the skins of the animals they had just killed.
Roman romantics “were drunk, they were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would line up for men to hit them, says Lenski. They believed that this would make them fertile.
The brutal party included a match lottery, in which the young men drew the names of the women from a jar. The couple would be, um, docked for the duration of the festival, or more, if the match was correct.
The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men, both called Saint Valentine, on February 14 of different years in the third century AD. C. His martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of Valentine’s Day.
Later, Pope Gelasius confused things in the fifth century by combining Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to expel pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical performance than it had once been. Lenski adds: “It was a bit more like a drunken party, but the Christians put their clothes back on, but that did not stop it from being a day of fertility and love.”
Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin Day. Galatin meant “lover of women.” That probably got mixed up with Valentine’s Day at some point, partly because they sound the same.
Shakespeare in love
Over the years, the holidays became sweeter. Chaucer and Shakespeare idealized him in his work, and gained popularity in Britain and the rest of Europe. Paper cards made by hand became tokens-du-jour in the Middle Ages.
Eventually, tradition reached the New World. The industrial revolution marked the beginning of factory-made cards in the 19th century. And in 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Missouri, began the mass production of Valentine’s cards. February has not been the same since.
Today, vacations are a big business: according to market research firm IBIS World, Valentine’s Day sales reached $ 17.6 billion last year; this year’s sales are expected to total $ 18.6 billion.
But that marketing has ruined the day for many. Helen Fisher, a sociologist at Rutgers University, says that only we are at fault.
“This is not a command performance,” she says. “If people did not want to buy Hallmark cards, they would not buy them, and Hallmark would close.”
And so the celebration of Valentine’s Day continues, in various ways. Many will break the bank buying jewelry and flowers for their loved ones. Others will celebrate in a SAD form (of the Day of the One Consciousness), having dinner alone and attracted by self-endowed chocolates. Some may even spend this day in the same way as the first Romans. But do not go there.