The Real Story Behind Valentine’s Day Is Scary And Sadistic

Avani Raj
·5-min read

Valentine’s day is a secular celebration despite being connected to the western Christian church. Celebrated all over the world, among all age groups, this day is regarded as an appreciation for love and romance.

14th of February, a day we all exchange gifts, greetings, and affection with our beloved(s) is not all that it looks like. Hopeful singles, preparations beginning a month prior, market brimming with lovey-dovey goodies, and rose-tinted glasses become the norm this time around every year.

But the reason for celebrating this day has been lost somewhere along the line similar to various other celebrated days. Although the origin of this day has failed to make its point among the Gen-Z, its darker, and sinister counterpart has not been lost.

Romans And Their Love

Romans have always been big on blood and slaughter. People in ancient Rome were the firsts to avail this holiday. Considered a matter of great pride, February 13-15 was celebrated as the feast of Lupercalia, and sacrifices were made.

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Lupercalia was their festival in which sacrifices of goats and dogs were followed by whipping women with the hides of the just-slain animals to avert evil spirits and purify the entire city. Of course, men could never have been involved in the impurity, so only women had to be ‘treated’.

The feast of Lupercalia and its sinister origin
The feast of Lupercalia and its sinister origin
Women being whipped during the feast of Lupercalia
Women being whipped during the feast of Lupercalia
Remains of a dog that was sacrificed in the feast of Lupercalia in ancient Rome
Remains of a dog that was sacrificed in the feast of Lupercalia in ancient Rome
Showing the terrible condition of women in ancient Rome
Showing the terrible condition of women in ancient Rome
Romans whipping their women and calling it ‘good luck’
Romans whipping their women and calling it ‘good luck’
Romans and their ‘love’
Romans and their ‘love’

This entire ‘festival’ was believed to bring fertility and good health. Women too, after years of sufferings, had come to believe that this was all done in good faith and that their fertility had everything to do with the beatings and sacrifices and nothing with the actual biology.

Hence, love and romance had only one definition in ancient Rome – violence. Toxicity was the norm and so was the vulnerability of the roman women. Like in 21st-century fairs, the roman had names of women put in jars, and ‘lucky draws’ were taken out for the ‘lucky’ women who would be beaten to a pulp and granted fertility.

Matchmaking was adopted as an answer to the unsettling ratio of men to women so that every woman could have a ‘fair chance’ of being blessed after the feast. And so, it’s not difficult to understand where our modern-day toxic, intolerable, and patriarchal love comes from.

St. Valentine’s Day – Martyr’s Day

The western Christian church announced the 14th of February as St. Valentine’s Day in honour of two early Christian martyrs, both named Valentine, who were executed on the same day in different years in the 3rd century A.D.

St. Valentine, one of the martyred saints
St. Valentine, one of the martyred saints
St. Valentine and the western Christian church
St. Valentine and the western Christian church

But a pope of significant intelligence, combined both St. Valentine’s day and the festival of Lupercalia later on, resulting in the half-informed, muddled version of the origin that is known to the general public.

The rituals were expected to have stopped and they did, or so the church thought. With love in the air and literature, thanks to Shakespeare and other poets suffering from lovesickness, the attention got diverted from the barbaric festival of Lupercalia.

With the evolution and prolonged knowledge of right and wrong, came an end to the sacrifices and violence attached to the day but the toxic mindset and the sadistic pride continues to this day. The Valentine’s day celebration will go on with gusto and rightfully so, we are not Romans and our thought process is not like theirs.

But should love not be celebrated all day, every day? Should we only be grateful and appreciative of our loved ones once a year?

Also, since the day has been modified several times already, why not a bit more? Why not celebrate love in all its glory – both platonic and romantic?

Modern love has been granted most of the salient features of the ‘roman love’ where the toxicity is on top, but let’s keep that conversation for another time and end this on a positive note. Congratulations, you’ve not become a part of this ‘fake love’, at least not in this lifetime.

Image Source: Google Images

Sources: History, The RCG, NPR

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