The Origin Of Valentine's Day: Don't Confuse 'Roman' with 'Romantic'

The Origin Of Valentine's Day: Don't Confuse 'Roman' with 'Romantic'

BDSM isn't a new concept.

It's no secret that just about everything the ancient Romans did was to relinquish evil spirits. In doing so, the Romans themselves may have been nothing short of the negativity they were trying to eliminate.

With the founding of Rome came the founding of Lupercalia-- a sacrificial and ultimately horrifying feast that lasted from February 13 to February 15. The beginning was marked with the sacrifice of a goat and dog (yes, a dog). After the animals were sacrificed, their blood was smeared on the foreheads of naked men who would then use the skins as whips to beat any woman that neared them.

If your brow isn't furrowed yet, it will be soon.

You may think women dreaded this practice, but they actually would line up to be thrashed. Speculation as to why still reels the heads of historians to this date, but a more popular theory is the belief that being whipped with the sacrificed skins would strengthen fertility. Because goats were a symbol of sexuality and the act was a metaphor for penetration, married men would even subject their wives to this practice.

As drunk and sadistic as Romans were, they certainly had their reasons.

As the centuries churned on, the practices became a little less sexual: less nudity and overall sexuality. Women would accept lashings across their hands instead of their bare bodies, and performing men would wear more than just a loincloth. Although sacrifice was prohibited in 341 AD, the ceremony of Lupercalia carried on until the end of the fifth century when Pope Gelasius decided it was no longer being performed correctly (... but was it ever?).

In different years of the third century, two men -- both named Valentine -- were executed under Emperor Claudius II. They were considered martyrs by the Catholic church, who wanted to keep their memories alive -- thus, St. Valentine's Day was born.

In an attempt to whipe out the sacrificial practice, Pope Gelasius combined the feast of Lupercalia with St. Valentine's Day. This didn't stop Romans from trying to celebrate a day of sexuality, although it did change the way they went about it. What was once a sacrificial ceremony turned into more of an entertainment charade.

Over the years, the historic day was carried on by people like Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare, who romanticized it in their literature. As art modernized and made its way into the Western world, commercialization of Valentine's Day blossomed. A major contribution was the establishment of Hallmark in the nineteenth century. In 1913, they introduced their first Valentine cards.

Hallmark attributes their idea to one of the martyrs:

"One legend involves Valentinus, a theologian and teacher. During the third century, Valentinus was imprisoned for his Christian beliefs and sentenced to death. While jailed, according to Roman legend, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter. The night before he died, Valentinus wrote a farewell note to the girl, which he signed, 'From Your Valentine.' His sentence was carried out the next day, Feb. 14, 269 A.D" -Hallmark

So, there you have it. Love it or hate it, the holiday is still thriving to this day. Social media has taken it to a whole different level of commercialization, although it seems many people want to do away with the frilly presents and romantic dinner reservations altogether.

You'll catch a lot of people complaining about the unnecessarily expensive romantic aisles in stores and claiming we should show love year round -- not just limit it to one day.

I personally agree that the cheap trinkets are overpriced and impersonal, but with sexuality being something so publicly confrontational, why not let people enjoy a day out of the year to celebrate how we all got here? (Newsflash: it wasn't the stork). Either way you look at it, the Romans will always be a drunken world of wonder.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Cover Image Credit: Mark Oliver

Popular Right Now

52 Instagram Captions Perfect For Your Next Beach Vacation

Perfect for those beach daze.

Summer is officially in full swing. We are all looking forward to the adventures that await us. A lot of us have been dreaming about the day when we finally get to kick our feet up and relax by the ocean. If you find yourself getting ready for a trip to the beach then read these quotes to help get your in the mood for your vacation. Whether you are looking for an Instagram caption or are just trying to settle a bad case of wanderlust, here are 52 quotes on summer:

1. "Hello summer."

2. "I'm happiest when I'm floating in the ocean."

3. "May you always have a shell in your pocket, and sand in your toes."

4. "Life is better with palm trees."

5. "Sandy toes. Sun-kissed nose."

6. "Balmy nights, pink sunsets, and salty air."

7. "Talk to the sand."

8. "Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink the wild air." -Emerson

9. "Everyone should believe in something. I believe I should go to the beach."

10. "Spontaneity is the best kind of adventure."

11. "The ocean is calling and I must go."

12. "Here comes the sun."

13. "If it requires a bikini, my answer is yes."

14. "I'm just a beachy kinda girl."

15. "As free as the ocean..."

16. "As endless as the ocean, as timeless as the tides..."

17. "Life's a beach. Enjoy the waves."

18. "A pineapple a day keeps the worries away."

19. "Let the currents guide your heart."

20. "Happiness comes in waves."

21. "Let's go somewhere where the stars kiss the ocean."

22. "My favorite color is sunset."

23. "I lost my heart to the sea."

24. "Sun, sand, and surf."

25. "Salt in the air. Sand in my hair."

26. "Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly." -Van Morrison

27. "High tides and good vibes."

28. "Mermaid kisses and starfish wishes."

29. "Stop and smell the ocean."

30. "I'm happy anywhere I can see the ocean."

31. "Tropical state of mind."

32. "Forever chasing the sun."

33. "Girls just wanna have sun."

34. "Some of the best memories are made in flip flops." -Kellie Elmore

35. "Good times and tan lines."

36. "Palm trees, ocean breeze, salty air, sun-kissed hair, endless summer, take me there."

37. "The ocean is calling."

38. "Love you to the beach and back."

39. "Paradise found."

40. "Seas the day."

41. "Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air..." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

42. "Eat. Beach. Sleep. Repeat."

43. "I never met a sunset I didn't like."

44. "Beach daze always."

45. "Catch me by the sea."

46. "Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair." -Zac Brown Band

47. "Stay salty."

48. "Done adulating- let's be mermaids."

49. "Find me under the palm trees."

50. "Sea you soon."

51. "Hello sunshine."

52. "Don't mind me... I'm just chasing the sun."

Cover Image Credit: Jakob Owens // Unsplash

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Doing Nothing All Summer Is Okay Too

It's okay to have no plans this summer.


Summer seems to roll around faster and faster every year and the question that's always asked is"what are you doing this summer?" Some people love to answer this question, maybe they have a trip planned to backpack across Europe or have a 2-week vacation in the Bahamas. My point is, everyone seems to have these big summer plans. Some people spend the whole summer traveling and are never even home, but there are always gonna be some people who, like me, have absolutely no plans this summer.

Do I wish I was traveling across Europe or spending a few weeks in the Bahamas? Sure. But in reality, my summer plans include working 5 or 6 days a week. I'm not ashamed of this and I wouldn't say I'm jealous of those traveling because I'm still determined to make the best of my summer.

There is so much pressure everywhere on Instagram and Snapchat to post all the fun things you're doing and to capture the moment. This creates the pressure that you always have to be doing something fun or spontaneous.

Summer should be whatever you want it to be. If you want to spend every day at the beach, do it. If you want to spend every day in bed or at home, that's good too. We all have different definitions of fun.

Summer has just started and everyone should make the most of their summer in their own way. My friends and I always make a bucket list of all the things we want to do by the end of the summer. None of it involves traveling or much planning, it's just little things we can do when we get bored.

Don't feel jealous when you see other people traveling this summer. Make your own fun plans, make a bucket list, and make the most of every day this summer.

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