When it comes to holidays, I’m always fascinated with their histories and how everything came together to be what they are today. Who was the first person to put strands of popcorn in pine trees for Christmas? When did Halloween go from being a crop burning bonfire to a day where small children dress in costume and beg for candy? When did the Irish holiday of St. Patrick’s Day become widely adopted in the United States?
Valentine’s Day often gets a bad rap for being the most “made up” of the holidays and people assume it was invented by the big wigs over at Hallmark so they could sell all their pretty cards. Not the case, my friends. This mid-February holiday actually has a long history and has changed a lot over the years. One thing it has always come down to though is baby making. I looked up some of the former ways to celebrate and if you’re one of those people who just can’t handle eating ONE MORE CONVERSATION HEART, then I have some ideas for how you can mix it up this year. First I will list the history, and then the way to pay homage to it.
“One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.” – History Channel
Get certified to marry people and then volunteer to marry all your friends who are engaged! If they think you’re crazy, just marry some of your stuffed animals! Apply HERE. An alternate is to simply set up some friends on a date. Play matchmaker!
“Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.” – History Channel
Send a Valentine to a prisoner. Make it super creepy looking.
“While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.” – History Channel
Walk around the street and slap women with strips of beef jerky and congratulate them on now being fertile.
Celebration idea #2:
Have a party with your friends where your names go in a bucket and the men get to pick which girl goes on a date with them by drawing names.
Celebration idea #3:
Volunteer at an animal shelter and play with a dog or a goat, but don’t sacrifice them for your crop fields, please.
“During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.” – History Channel
Go bird watching and hope that you get to see them mating.
Fun, fun! If this is all too weird for you, then hearts, chocolate and kisses it is!