The Criterion

Origins of Valentines Day

Alexa Boyle '20, Staff Writer

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Since Valentines Day is around the corner I thought it would be intresting to know how
and why it all started. Its a time of romance and love with people indulging in restaurants and
celebrating their relationships. National Public Radio.org explains that the origins of this of candy
and cupid filled day is actually dark, bloody, and a bit disturbed. It all started with the ancient
Romans where instead of hitting on women, they actually hit women.

A drawing depicts the death of St. Valentine — one of them, anyway. The Romans executed two men by that name on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D.
Starting with the Romans, Feb. 13 to 15 was a time that the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, after this they would whip women with the hides of the animals they had just killed.
The Roman romantics were described as ” drunk and naked” by Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He explains how young women would line up to get beaten because they thought it would make them fertile. These beatings included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar.
The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love.
Emperor Claudius II executed two men with the name Valentine, on Feb. 14 in the 3rd century
A.D. They were honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day.
Later, Pope Gelasius I, in the 5th century combined St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia
to expel the pagan rituals. The festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once
been with the beating centuries earlier . Lenski adds, “It was a little more of a drunken revel, but
the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.”

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Origins of Valentines Day