Micah’s History of Everything: Valentine’s Day

Posted: February 14, 2013 by Micah in A History of Everything
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Ah Valentine’s day, it dawns upon us all each year on February… this day. If you’re in a relationship it’s a great day to think about all of the wonderful things that you love about your relationshipett, or relationshiper if it’s a man. If you’re single it’s a great day to think about how nobody really likes you, and that even chocolate is on the side of the couples. But where did this day come from? How has Valentine’s day matured into the hilariously painful to more than one half of the population day that we know it as today? To answer that question I read at least one article from some Historically significant  website that I’m sure would never lie, but that I’m also sure I mostly wasn’t paying attention to.

That said, let’s all fold our hands in our lap, sit up straight, and learn all about Valens, tines, and some tiny naked babies!

Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome: Cause no one else was going.

Ancient Rome: Come for the buildings, stay for the togas.

The first stirring of Valentines was in ancient Rome where a man who was destined to become a saint decided that he was going to go out into the Roman fields, pick some flowers, and charge very confused men hilariously exorbitant prices for a collection of dead, decaying plants. I am, of course kidding, this would not happen for several hundred years when St. Wal-mart began the tradition.

There are (apparently) three Catholic saints named Valentine (or Valentinus as the romans said. I mean “saidus”) all three of them share in common the fact that they fell madly in love with beautiful young women and were married in bliss and merriment.

Ha ha.


They were murdered. Or martyred. Or marinated. Though not at the same time.

One of them (legend has it) who we will call… Bob-us Valentinus continued performing marriages even when the Emperor (who could not apparently get a date) outlawed marriage. Then he was murdered.

Another (who we will call Brutus-us Valentinus) is said to have sent a love letter to his one true love the very day of his execution that said at the end of it:

“from: your Valentine.”

P.S. I mean Valentinus.

P.S.S. Please don’t let them chop my head off.

And in an incredibly romantic display of romance and the power of love they did not chop Valentinus’s head off. Instead Valentinus was fed to a very romantically inclined she-lion who would go on to found the somewhat lesser known holiday: Eat a Saints Day.

Happy Eat a Saints Day!

Happy Eat a Saints Day!

The third guy I couldn’t find anything out about so we’ll assume that he just stood around and made fun of single people while forcing newborn babies to shoot arrows at them… which actually sounds kind of awesome.

Meanwhile in Paganville

Every February the 15th was a hilarious holiday that was named (I kid you not) Lupercalia. A holiday to the Roman god of fertility: Polly Pocket—I mean Faunus. It seems that a key part of this festival was to kill a goat, make strips out of its hide and then walk around ancient Rome slapping people with them. Yup. Slapping Romans with goat skins. What’s more it was considered a big deal by Roman women to get slapped by this goat hide. Women lined up to get slapped with a goat hide. In ancient Rome getting slapped with a goat hide was like buying couture shoes.  This would later give rise to women waiting in line to get slapped by many other things like mascara, nail polish, and Justin Bieber.

Justin Bieber: a lot like being slapped with a dead goat.

Justin Bieber: a lot like being slapped with a dead goat.

According to some historical people who care about these things, Lupercalia also involved single people putting their names into a jar, drawing out names, and then using that to couple up ancient roman couples for a YEAR! You may laugh at this women but I promise sweaty guys living in their parent’s basement are reading this right now and REALLY trying to come up with a way to re-implement this system.

Valentine’s Day invented:

Early in the 5th century some random woman walked into the Pope’s office, or “the Poffice” as it is known around Catholicism, and said: “Man, I love getting slapped with the skin of a dead goat.” The Pope was appalled and ran straight out to his Popemocart and sped off into the dark of night. The next day decries were cried out across the land that Lupercalia was officially outlawed and that from henceforth and hitherto every February the 14th we would celebrate Valentine’s day, a holiday that would cost thousands of innocent men and women millions of dollars but would also (in the words of the Pope) “involve absolutely no goat carcasses.” That Pope’s name was (of course) Pope Chocula.

The most famous of Popes.

The most famous of Popes.

And that friends is how Valentine’s day became the Holiday we all know and love and hate so much. I would of course be re-miss if I missed a chance to wish a very happy Valentine’s day to my awesome wife Cassie (who rocks)!Thanks for reading everyone, hopefully you have a great Valentine’s day and remember to hold the people you love just a little closer (metaphorically.)

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