Engineer & Entertain

Ideas I grapple with

History of St. Valentine’s Day?

            Right now one event is looming towards us with great speed and it is . . . the Super Bowl!!  Wait, that’s not the right segue – and it is  . . . Valentine’s Day!!  There we go.  While I am not one to typically celebrate Valentine’s day I have been known to be a romantic, by which I mean I address females by their names rather than “Sweet Thang.” 

            There’s a dichotomy created with Valentine’s day; either you’re single and typically bitter about it or you’re spoken for and thus typically ecstatic about spending a day, time, and money with your loved one.  So whose idea was it to create bitter feelings and empty wallets?  Like every good commercialized holiday, it’s the result of early Christians. 

            Back in ancient Rome, there was a festival for this guy named Lupercus, a god of fertility.  Similar to some frat parties, the Romans celebrated by donning goat skins and running through the streets.  Young women would come forth believing that being touched during this festival they would be fertile and have an easy birth.  Little did they know that actually requires fertility drugs and a good epidural.  Supposedly, part of the ceremony also involved pairing off with someone and having sex at the Roman equivalent of make out point.  In order to counter this, early Christians came up with Valentine’s day to try and instill some civility, because having sex in the woods is apparently uncivil. 

            Why St. Valentine?  Well, there were a couple of them all martyred around the same time.  Plus, St. Valentine supposedly did some romantic things, such as marry Roman soldiers when Claudius II posed a ban on it.  (A soldier might have something to live for and thus not want to fight, hence the ban.)  Valentine may have also sent a love letter to his jailer’s daughter ending it with “Your Valentine” hence why we sign that.  There’s also rumor that there was tremendous out pouring, in the form of letters, from the townspeople to Valentine. 

            There’s been some evidence about Valentine marrying Roman Soldiers while the other two stories are up in the air and are probably urban legends created in the 14th century.  Additionally, the festival of Lupercus is largely shown to have existed but the theory about the Christians wanting to contend it is likely but unproven.  Though likely.  Why did I share all of this then if there may be falsehood in it?  Because you’re going to have to talk to your date about something and discussing old historical and archeological urban legends can be fun.  Additionally it gives you something to filibuster with in case you have to come up with an excuse as to why you thought an iron would make a great V-Day gift.     


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