Valentine’s Day is a chance to praise sentiment and love and kissy-face fealty. Yet, the origins of this festival of treats and cupids are really dim, bleeding — and somewhat tangled.
In spite of the fact that nobody has pinpointed the specific beginning of the holiday, one great spot to start is old Rome, where men hit on ladies by, indeed, hitting them.
Those Wild And Crazy Romans
From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans praised the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a canine, at that point whipped ladies with the hides of the animals they had just slain.
The Roman romantics “were tanked. They were stripped,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young ladies would really arrange for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They accepted this would make them ripe.
The ruthless fete incorporated a matchmaking lottery, wherein youngsters drew the names of ladies from a container. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the length of the festival — or more, if the match was correct.
The old Romans may also be responsible for the name of our present day of affection. Ruler Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of various years in the third century A.D. Their suffering was respected by the Catholic Church with the festival of St. Valentine’s Day.
Afterward, Pope Gelasius I tangled things in the fifth century by consolidating St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to remove the agnostic rituals. However, the festival was even more a dramatic translation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, “It was somewhat more of an intoxicated revel, however the Christians set clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fruitfulness and love.”
Around the same time, the Normans observed Galatin’s Day. Galatin signified “admirer of ladies.” That was likely confused with St. Valentine’s Day at some point, to some degree because they sound the same.
Shakespeare In Love
As the years went on, the holiday became sweeter. Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticized it in their work, and it acquired ubiquity all through Britain and the rest of Europe. Handcrafted paper cards turned into the tokens-of the day in the Middle Ages.
At last, the custom advanced toward the New World. The industrial unrest ushered in manufacturing plant made cards in the nineteenth century. Also, in 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., started mass creating valentines. February has not been the same since.
Today, the holiday is large business: According to statistical surveying firm IBIS World, Valentine’s Day sales came to $17.6 billion last year; this year’s sales are required to add up to $18.6 billion.
In any case, that commercialization has spoiled the day for some. Helen Fisher, a sociologist at Rutgers University, says we have just ourselves to fault.
“This isn’t an order execution,” she says. “In the event that individuals would not like to purchase Hallmark cards, they would not be purchased, and Hallmark would leave business.”
Thus the festival of Valentine’s Day goes on, variedly. Many will use up every last cent purchasing gems and flowers for their beloveds. Others will celebrate in a SAD (that is Single Awareness Day) way, feasting alone and gorging on self-skilled chocolates. A couple may even be spending this day the same way the early Romans did. Yet, we should not go there.