Today is Valentine’s Day and you’re either celebrating with your loved ones or, if you’re aggressively single like me, you’re posting passive aggressive status updates on social media.
But in this day of roses (250 million on average) and chocolate (58 million pounds on average!) there are few people who actually know what the roots of the Valentine’s Day tradition.
So there’s an old pagan tradition called Lupercalia, which was a Roman fertility ritual where an animal was sacrificed and young women were flogged with the skins and blood of the animals to grant them fertility for the coming year. The event is meant to honor the wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus in the foundation of Rome.
The Church being the Church, they wanted to take over the event and take all the fun out of it. So they attached it to a story of St. Valentine’s. There are a few St. Valentine’s in history, but the story goes that there was a Roman emperors who didn’t want his soldiers to marry because it affected their morale during long campaigns. St. Valentine would marry soldiers and their sweethearts in secret, for which he was caught and condemned. While in prison, he fell in love with his jailer’s daughter and would sign messages to her as “from your Valentine.”
Also there was a massacre. A bunch of mobsters got rubbed out, see? By the Capone mob, see? That’s how Chicago does it, ya mugs.