History of Valentine day – Are you one of those who thinks that the history of Valentine Day is as romantic as it is celebrated today? You will be surprised to know that the origin of Valentine Day does not involve any love gestures like Valentine cards or Valentine gifts in modern times. In fact, Valentine Day’s history is a bit darker and bloodier than you would have ever imagined!
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You might have heard the tragic story of Valentine Day according to which there used to be a priest called Saint Valentine in the Roman empire. While that story is considered true, there is another story again from the Roman region but long way before Saint Valentine. And yes, that origin of Valentine’s Day involves naked Romans!
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So, get ready to know these stories about the history of Valentine’s Day. Be prepared to be surprised as this history of Valentine Day does not involve any red roses or cute Valentine gifts:
1. Crazy Origin of Valentine’s Day from Roman Festival Lupercalia
i) Lupercalia was a Roman festival of fertility when people followed a bloody ritual involving naked males and females. Men used to sacrifice a dog and a goat on this day and extract the hides of these animals.
ii) However, this killing of animals was not the worst part of Lupercalia. Women willingly lined up for naked Roman men who whipped them with the hides they had collected.
iii) During this procedure, Romans were drunk as well as naked and women used to believe that being whipped like that would make them fertile.
iv) Before this procedure, a matchmaking lottery used to take place when men picked chits, carrying the name of women. These couples stayed together during the festival or as per some stories for a year once the ritual of hitting women was finished.
v) People also believe that men used to wear the chit carrying the name of their companion on their sleeves. This practice gave birth to the expression “wearing heart on sleeve”, meaning being open about one’s feelings.
2. Story of St. Valentine
This is the most popular story behind the origin of Valentine Day. The history of Valentine Day is often associated with a saint named Valentine in the Roman era. Although according to legends, there were three people named Valentine in different periods, Valentine Day’s history is often associated with the following story:
i) The Roman empire was going through a huge turmoil in the 3rd Century A.D. It was a period known as the “Crisis of the Third Century” among scholars. The empire was divided into three states with indications of an impending war among them.
ii) During this period, Emperor Claudius II banned marriages of young people as he believed that unmarried soldiers were better fighters than married ones. He needed the maximum strength of men to fight wars which led him to take this decision.
iii) However, there was a Roman priest called Valentine who believed that marriages were made in heaven and nobody should be prevented from having this holy experience. So, he began marrying the young couples in secret ceremonies hidden from the emperor.
iv) Claudius eventually found out about Valentine and put him behind the bars. Saint Valentine was eventually beheaded on February 14th for his deeds. Since then, Saint Valentine became the epitome of love and the day of his death later came to be later known as Valentine’s Day.
v) According to another related story, when Saint Valentine was in jail, he fell in love with the blind daughter of the jailer. Just before he was taken for beheading, he had written a letter to her and signed it as “From your Valentine.” Since then, the tradition of expressing one’s love and feelings began as Valentine’s Day on February 14.
The above incidents of Valentine’s Day history are quite interesting and intriguing. It is surprising that the day of love could have such tragic origin or bloody Roman rituals. Nevertheless, Valentine’s Day remains one of the most popular days all over the world. In fact, it is second only to Christmas when it comes to exchanging greeting cards! So, what are you planning on February 14th? If you do not know yet, check out these exciting things to do on Valentine’s Day!