Nearly 65 percent of Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day every year by buying roses, chocolates and a romantic dinner. Although this Valentine’s Day will be filled with perfect bliss for couples flaunting their romance all around, the history of of Valentine’s Day didn’t start off all that romantic. In fact, it began with a death.
History is a little muddled when it comes to the facts about the origins of Valentine’s Day. However, most historians agree that Romans are most likely responsible for the creation of the love-filled holiday we celebrate today.
In olden-days, the Romans celebrated a holiday called Lupercalia where men would sacrifice a goat and a dog in a paganistic ritual. Once the animals had been sacrificed, young women would line up to be whipped with the hides of the animals because they believed it would make them fertile. From there, a matchmaking lottery was held where men would draw a woman’s name for a night of merriment.
Centuries later, a priest by the name of Valentine were martyred for performing marriages for young Roman soldiers. At that time, Emperor Claudius II had deemed soldiers were better fit if they were unmarried and had banned marriages in Rome. Valentine was sentenced to death for his crimes.
With the rise of Christianity, the Catholic church tried to turn Lupercalia into Christian holiday by banning the pagan practices i Lupercalia and calling the day St. Valentine’s Day, immortalizing the martyred priest. Since then, romantic acts such as giving messages between lovers and giving gifts was practiced every Feb. 14 and is still practiced today.
According to market research, this year’s Valentine’s Day sales are expected to reach $18.6 million. Nearly 220 billion roses are produced each year in preparation for the holiday of love, and an estimated one billion romantically worded cards will be sent out to like Hogwarts calling for new students.