February 14, 2009

Origins of Valentine

There are two general versions of how Valentine came about.

In ancient Rome, back around when Christianity was starting to spread there, the folks were still into paganism. Around when February rolled around, the men would strip naked, run around in the streets and use whips to spank childless women to improve their fertility. No viagra back then.

This holiday was called Lupercalia and was held on February 15. Lupercus is another name for the roman god, Pan.

Sometime around 5th century A.D., the Church basically went, "This looks really bad for us, we don't like paganism and it's too tempting for people." And, surprisingly, instead of trying to squash this holiday, they decided to incorporate it into their Church rituals. "When in Rome..."

(version 2) The Church prefers this version: Sometimes around 3rd century A.D., a roman emperor decided that his army would be stronger if the soldiers weren't married, so he forbade the single men from marrying at all. A particular priest, whose name happens to be Valentine, felt this was horribly wrong to keep lovey dovey couples apart and defied his emperor by secretly marrying them.

Knowing how the Church was back then, superstrict about sex outside marriage, my theory is that an anal priest saw that these single men were having too much fun (wink wink), had a conniption and thought that it'd be better if they were married so that they wouldn't go to hell.

For his defiance, Valentine was apparently executed. On February 14th. And some time later, the Church declared him a saint for his works.

Which version is what actually happened? I'm guessing some combination of the two.

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