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It wasn't always all chocolate hearts and roses. It wasn't always so romantic. The Romans had a way about them, and legend has it that in the third century—when public showing of pagan rituals hadn't yet been outlawed—during the days from February 13th through the 15th, the Romans celebrated Lupercalia (named after Lupa, a she-wolf who cared for Remus and Romulus)—a festival in which the city was purified, evil spirits released, and health and fertility channeled. It was a bloody indulgent mess.
Goats and dogs were slain as sacrifice. In the name of Fertility, women were willingly slapped with the bloody hides of those slain animals. There was a matchmaking lottery, and men drew women's names from an urn. They all paired up and everyone got drunk and naked and ran around with goatskin thongs, the same with which the women were lashed.
And because the Romans made better lovers than fighters, their Emperor, Claudius II, forbid single men from marrying, lest they'd never leave their love making for war making. This is when a righteous guy named Valentine (maybe a priest) defied Claudius's order and performed secret marriages for young lovers. In return, Claudius ordered Valentine's death on, perhaps, February 14th. But before he was executed, Valentine was imprisoned, and fell in love with the jailor's daughter, to whom he wrote a loving letter that he signed: "From your Valentine."
There you have it. Oh what a time it was.
But things changed in the fifth century when the church decided to "christianize" the pagan festival, and the Roman lottery system for matchmaking and other rites were outlawed. The festival was civilized (or done away with) by the church, and Lupercalia went the way of Byzantine sports. I suppose this was for the best, as both running around drunk and naked, and chariot racing, could be rather dangerous.
Well, I don't know about you, but I kind of prefer the old Roman way. Down and dirty, drunk and naked (except for the fertility flogging). And no mass marketing, no cards or chocolates or roses.
And here, one more civilized thing for your day of hearts and lovin' (in the language of love):
I want to sing to you eternal stories,
And of falling suns and full moons, and dark nights...