Happy Valentine’s Day, love is in the air!
Whether you are celebrating or loathing this day of romance, check out our latest facts to learn the shocking truth about this cotton candy clouded holiday of all things cute, sweet and fluffy.
Not to spoil your mood. We make sure you get the facts straight.
* Our list will come in handy, if you run out of things to talk about on your Valentine’s date. (You’re welcome, thank us later.)
The origins of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to ancient Rome. Today, V-Day is all about roses, chocolates and cards. It was not rosy and a bit rougher back in the days. Traditionally in February, the Romans celebrated the festival of ‘Lupercalia’, which has been translated in many ways, mostly described as the festival of fertility or sexual license.
The holiday honored ‘Lupercus’, the God of fertility and husbandry and the protector of the herds and crops. In Roman mythology, Lupercus was a mighty wolf hunter. People worshipped to him in order to keep the wolves away from their cattle and for a good harvest.
During ‘Lupercalia’, male priests would sacrifice a goat and a dog on the Palatine Hill, where, according to Roman mythology, the baby twins Romulus and Remus where nursed by a wolf before they founded Rome. If you wondered where Rome got its name from, it was named after one of his founders.
After sacrificing the animals, the priests would wear cloths made from the skins, smeared themselves with the animals’ blood and ran around the city. During the run, they would hit women with a februa, a type of whip made from goatskin. This unusual, and surely painful tradition was believed to purify women and enhance their fertility. The name of the month February derives from februa, translated as “means of purification”.
Kinky Lucky Draw
Beyond the goats and whipping, the ancient Romans came up with a particular kind of lucky draw, which was traditionally held on February 14. The names of young girls were written on small pieces of paper (Now you know why we send those cute “Be my Valentine cards”), which were then drawn by young men. If you think those couples would go on a romantic blind date, you are quite off.
The lucky ‘couples’ would attend several parties and feasts together, where they would join in erotic games. We are not sure how many relationships came out of these ancient swinging one-night stands, but Romans practiced this ritual for centuries.
(PS: Not to mention that these festivities were held with a lot of booze and everyone being naked.)
Who is Valentine?
Why do we call it Valentine’s day and who was this Valentine? First of all, there is not just one Valentine. According to ancient history, there were two, sometimes even three people, all named Valentine, who died gruesomely and became saints. On February 14 of the 3rdcentury A.D., the Roman emperor Claudius II ordered the execution of two men, both named Valentine. Later, the Catholic church honored these two by making them saints and declaring Feb14 as the day dedicated to St. Valentine.
There are many stories about them, but most commonly, tales tell that one of the Valentines was a Roman priest. During the reign of emperor Claudius II, the Roman empire was losing many battles and the emperor thought if he forbids young couples to get married, the single young soldiers (men) would fight better and win more battles. Priest Valentine did not agree with that idea and kept on marrying young couples secretly until he was caught, imprisoned and ultimately killed. The Catholic church later made him the patron of love, couples and marriage. Curiously enough, he’s also the saint of the plague, epilepsy and beekeeping. If you are wondering what the stories of the other two Valentines are, not much is known about them.
Business of Love
After the fall of the Roman empire, this lusty, gruesome holiday was not widely celebrated anymore. Later and far away from Italy, Shakespeare and other famous British writers picked up Valentine’s day and started to romanticize its ideas and fueled its rebirth.
Now much sweeter and without animal sacrifices or sexy lucky draws, the holiday became hugely popular again in Europe and people started to make paper cards for their loved ones in the Middle-ages. From Europe, the holiday spread across the Western world and became a big deal. Commercial Valentine’s day really kicked off in 1913, when Hallmark started to mass manufacture the first Valentine’s day cards.
Today, Valentine’s day is a big day around the world, for couples and above all for the candy industry. According to the US National Confectioners Association, people will spend roughly a billion dollars on chocolate hearts and the likes.
From a holiday of sacrifices and matchmaking, to a commercialized couples’ celebration, February 14 is a celebration of many kinds. Some call it SAD, or Single Awareness Day, where lonely hearts will dine alone and munch on chocolates they got for themselves. Others describe it as Bikini Wax Day, Clichéd Proposal Day or Raised Expectations Day.
No matter what V-Day means for you, we hope you make the most of it! There is never a wrong time to love and treat yourself or your loved ones to something truly special. If you need some inspiration for great gifting ideas, MYKU got you covered with our latest collection of marvelous timepieces for him and her.