“The Secret Origins of Valentine’s Day,” you’re thinking. “Easy, it must have been made up in the last fifty years or so by Hallmark to sell cards. Or by BIG FLOWER to sell roses.” In fact, the Love Holiday is an ancient one and its exact origins are lost in the mists of time. Enjoy the Valentine’s Day GIFs that go along with it.
There’s a few theories about its beginnings and they’re all pretty interesting: you probably never thought of V-Day as a holiday for lecherous werewolves, heretical anti-popes, or saintly heroes who got decapitated. Let’s look a little closer at where Valentine’s Day may have come from.
Horny Werewolf Day
Around February 14th there were holidays in both ancient Greece and Rome connected to fertility, love making, and uhhh wolves. Wolf gods were worshiped and men would dress up as wolves and chase women through streets whipping them. Wild times.
Besides the strange animal role play and flogging (which even now is some people’s idea of sex) the whole thing definitely did have a pagan sexy vibe about it. It seems like you were supposed to get frisky to encourage the spring to come. So this sexy holiday might be the original Valentine’s Day.
A Mystical Heretical Anti-Pope
Valentinus of Rome was born in the year 100 and was an important Christian leader when it was still a new religion. He was so influential and had so many followers (think Kim Kardashian on Instagram), he almost became one of the first ever popes. But the thing is, his style of Christianity was quite different than what we’re familiar with.
He taught that the world was an accident, God was sometimes a woman, and that married couples should perform magic sex rituals with each other. Therefore, his beliefs and followers were pushed to the margins, but some researchers think Valentine’s Day comes from Valentinus. He had an emphasis on love and mystic sex and was important enough, at the time, to have a day marking him. And it would be worth covering up exactly who the day was for as time went on.
The Mysterious Saint Valentine Who May Not Be Real
The mainline story is Valentine’s Day commemorates a saint named Valentine who was executed during a time when Christianity was banned. His crime? Serving as a priest to marry Christian couples who were forbidden by the persecution to be married in their faith. This lead him to be executed, decapitated by the local ruler, on February 14th.
So we got the right date, a guy with the right name, and he even dies trying to bring lovebirds together. The only problem is no historical records of this dude exist and all the stories seem to come much, much, later than they supposedly happened. Saint Valentine is a legend.
It Was the Greeting Card Companies!
No, it wasn’t….butttttt. In the 1800s the mail service suddenly became very cheap and the stationary and card companies built up the previously obscure holiday of Valentine’s Day as the perfect time to mail your sweetheart (and your friends, and your family) a Valentine. So we wouldn’t have the holiday, as we know it, if it wasn’t for BIG PAPER.
If you didn’t get your boo a Valentine’s Day card make it up to them by posting this article on their Facebook wall. Or share it with anyone who may want to know that February’s big holiday might be about lascivious werewolves.