Love’s Tragic Past


Katherine Cervantes

Colors and shapes such as the ones displayed are often seen in today’s Valentines Day scene.

‘Be mine,’ ‘Sweet Pea,’ and ‘Hug me,’ are just some of the phrases we will see for Valentine’s Day. But where did this holiday come from originally?

The Saint himself is surrounded by many different legends and stories. All ending with the beheading of St. Valentine due to his defiance against Emperor Claudius II’s marriage and engagement ban because he believed single men fought better than married ones.

However, the holiday of Valentine’s itself is believed to have originated from a Pagan festival celebrated in February.

Named Lupercalia, the festival was dedicated to the Roman god of architecture, Faunus, as well as the Roman founders, Romulus and Remus.

The festival of Lupercalia begins with a Roman priest, in the group Luperci, gathering at a cave that is believed to be the place where the founders of Rome were cared for by a she-wolf.

At the cave, a goat and dog would be sacrificed. The goat was sacrificed for fertility and the dog for purity.

The priest would take the goat hide and cut it into strips. These strips would then get soaked with sacrificial blood. The goat hide strips dripping in blood are then taken into town to bless the crop fields and women.

The women of the town would search for the touch of the hide because they believed it would make them more fertile in the coming year.

Later in the day, another activity occurs. This activity would raffle off the woman to the city’s bachelors and pair them for the year, leaving the males to choose their Juan and only. These couples would often get married by the end of the year.

In the fifth century, this festival was forbidden by Pope Gelasius I in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration and replace it with St. Valentine’s Day.

St. Valentine’s Day was first recorded as a day of romantic celebration by Geoffrey Chaucer, an English poet, in his 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules’.

As time progressed, Valentine’s greetings were proclaimed verbally. They weren’t written down until after the 1400s.

The oldest known Valentine to exist is in a collection of the British Library in London, England. It is a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415.

Today we have many new and old traditions. Most involving hearts, caring words, and fun phrases, such as ‘Alway in my heart.’ However, one thing is for sure, Feb. 14 is a day to share love and appreciation for a special someone, a cute-tea.

So, for this Valentine’s Day won’t you peas be mine?