Where did Valentines Day come from?

Think naked Romans, paganism, and whips…

Way before Hallmark, Valentine’s Day, like Halloween, is rooted in pagan partying. This lovers’ holiday traces its roots to raucous annual Roman festivals where men stripped naked, grabbed goat or dog skin whips, and spanked young maidens in hopes of increasing their fertility, so says classics professor Noel Lenski at University of Colorado, Boulder.

The church pegged the festival to the legend of St. Valentine. The story goes that in the third century A.D., Roman Emperor Claudius II, seeking to bolster his army, forbade young men to marry. Valentine, flouted the ban, performing marriages in secret. For his defiance, Valentine was executed in A.D. 270—on February 14.

“In the end
these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?”
Gautama Buddha

9 thoughts on “Where did Valentines Day come from?

  1. I always love learning a bit of history in a post. It’s amazing how things evolve! Thank you. Fun to find you at Women of Midlife.


  2. Yes, isn’t that history fascinating? We went from Roman slaves to romance and major commercialism in just a few centuries! I like the idea of having a holiday dedicated to LOVE, I just wish it felt more inclusive and less romantic. We all have some kind of love in our lives, let’s celebrate it!


  3. Pingback: Real Love | Adventures of the NEW Old Farts

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