Valentine's Day Dark History: Bloody Orgies

Orgies, sacrifices and demonic rituals are the cradles of today’s well known Valentine’s day celebrated annually on February 14th.

Lupercalia – True Name of Valentine

Celebration of Lupercalia which was a Roman Valentine's day featured by bloody orgies

Lupercalia is a pastoral festival that was, by some historian’s claims, observed even in times before the ancient Rome. It was celebrated from 13 to 15th February with a goal of keeping evil spirits away and was also known as the purification festival. ‘Dies Februatus’ was another name for the festival originating from the term that refers to the instruments of purification – februa. This is how the month of February got its name. As for the term Lupercalia, it is most likely that originates from the word lupus which meant wolf in Latin.

Rites of the Ancient Valentine’s Day

As mentioned in the opening sentence the rites that took place during the observation of the ancient Valentine’s were highly disturbing when compared to the modern points of view. Sacrifice and orgies were only part of what used to come after the completion of cave rites.

Place Where Rituals Were Performed

Rites were performed in the sacred cave on the top of one of the Palantine hill which is one of the seven hills from which the Roman Empire had emerged. Next to the cave, there was a monument erected to celebrate Rumina, the goddess of breastfeeding. In addition to the statue, a wild fig tree grew at the entrance of the cave. It was believed that it was the precise tree on which Romulus and Remus were brought trough the intervention of River God. Mythical and religious motives thrived around this place.

Lupus Brotherhood – Followers of the Wolf

Lupercalia had its own priesthood specialized to perform rituals. They were called the Lupus Brotherhood. This order mostly consisted of young males. The allowed age range was 20-40. The members of the brotherhood were the ones to climb on the top of the hill, enter the cave and implement the rites.

Valentine Primordial Rituals – Sacrifices And Orgies

Members of the Lupus brotherhood would gather in the sacred cave. Under the guidance of the high priest of Jupiter who was the key attendance, a sacrifice would be given to the higher forces. Two animals would be slaughtered. A male goat for fertility and a dog for purification. It is clear why dog as a representation of pure love and loyalty it develops towards its owner was used as a gift for purification. However, goat and fertility might look a bit disconnected. In the oldest civilization of the world known as Summer civilization the great Marduk, the most powerful among Gods was always accompanied by the goat. In Greece and Roman mythology, it is not rare to see goat following the gods of hunting. And these gods were usually connected with an abundance that could be achieved either through successful hunting or harvesting. Briefly explained, that is one of the reasons why goats were connected and sacrificed in the name of fertility.

The relief of ancient children that are leading a goat to be sacrificed
The relief of ancient children that are leading a goat to be sacrificed

After the Sacrifice

After sacrificing the animals, roman men would cut their hides up into strips and dip them into the blood that they considered to be sacred. Then they would take their clothes off, and completely naked go out to the streets carrying the strips. Men used bloody hides for slapping women of the village. Ladies welcomed this act believing it would make them more fertile.

Marriage Tombola

Next was pairing up bachelors and single ladies. Women with no husband would write their names and put them inside the urn from which men would choose on turns. Sometimes these acts would result in marriage. However, it was mostly done for fun.

Valentine’s Bloody Orgies

Naked men whipping women was just a step away from the event that usually ensued. The orgies. True, a marriage tombola wouldn’t always end with marriage, but there would be a reenactment of the first night. The sexual intercourses took place on streets as well as in houses. Since both men and women were bloody it is clear why an ancient version of Valentine’s was, within some historical sources, referred to as the Bloody Orgies.

Painting of lupercalia festival
Lupercalia Festival

How Did Orgies and Bizzare Customs Turn Into Valentine’s Romance?

Acts committed by Claudius II also remembered as Marcus Aurelius Claudius, the emperor of Rome between 268 and 270 A.D. are responsible for the existence of Valentine’s day we know.

Make War Instead of Love – Making Marriages Illegal

During Claudius’s reign, a very distinctive feature of men when it comes to important life decisions was choosing marriage over military service. This phenomenon went to that degree that there was a danger of losing more than 60% percent of the army during the times of endless wars. That would mean certain doom for the Roman empire. This comparatively alerted and enraged Claudius who decided to make marriages illegal.

Saint Valentine’s Defiance

A priest in Rome decided to defy the emperor. His name was Valentine. He secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young couples. When it came to light, this direct disobedience had grave consequences. First came the imprisonment. For his acts against Emperor Valentine was thrown to the dungeons. And so, Valentine’s cell became the place where the first Valentine’s letter was ever written.

First Valentine’s Letter

The first valentines letter written in the dungeon
Valentine’s letter

According to stories, Valentine made contact with the jailer’s daughter. She was a young and decent woman known for the strong love she felt towards her father. Every day she visited his workplace to bring him food and see how he is doing for the jailer was getting old. Kindhearted as she was, daughter wanted to exchange few words with prisoners and remind them it is never too late for redemption. Father granted her that wish and made it possible for Valentine to meet his daughter. They became good friends. Before leaving to confront the consequences of his actions Valentine wrote her a note that he signed, “From Your Valentine.” That was the first Valentine’s letter ever written.

Valentine Punishment

He was taken out in front of the prefect of Rome who was given a duty of sentencing the lawbreaker. Valentine received the death penalty. The beating was chosen for the way of sentence implementation. He was beaten to death with clubs. After breath had left his body Valentine was beheaded and his split corpse was left in the pool of blood for a certain period of time. This was a clear message to all potential defiers. Sometime after his death, Valentine was proclaimed for a saint.

The Skull of Saint Valentine

The skull of Saint Valentine residing in a glass reliquary in Rome's Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin
St. Valentine’s skull

Relics of him were held in the Church and Catacombs of San Valentino in Rome. During the Middle Ages, the relics of St. Valentine were taken to the church of Santa Prassede. Today, Valentine’s skull decorated with a crown of flowers is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome. Other relics of him were taken to Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland where they can be seen today. All of the churches and basilicas connected to Valentine are large attractions for tourists during all of the year. Of course, the largest crowds gather on Saint Valentine’s day to pay tribute and take a photo or two in front of the skull.

What About Cupid?

Little cupid standing next to the church window
Little Cupid

This is the story of Saint Valentine that explains how the famous February day came to be, but what about that cute little angel with wings, bow, and arrows? He is present on most of Valentine’s gift cards as well as presents and is known for making people fall in love with each other. Little rascal that shoots around. Just one hit of his arrow and the victim will become blind of love. How did this entity come into the picture?

Is There a Connection Between Valentine and Cupid?

Just mentioned facts imply a perfectly logical question: “Is there a connection between Valentine and Cupid?” To answer this question with claims different than the one mentioning the nature of consumerism that connects everything with anything for a good spectacle and sale, we must learn some facts about Cupid.

Who Cupid Actually Is? Roman Clone of Eros

In Roman mythology, Cupid is a god of desire, erotic love, attraction, and affection. He is considered to be the son of Mars and Venus, roman gods of war and love. Amor is the Latin term referring to the same God. His older greek counterpart is known by the name of Eros. Eros’s original representation was in the form of a young slender man with wings. This God had great power and for pure fun, he was able to make people blindly fall in love with each other. Such acts would often result in tragedies. It is the reason most of the old Greece feared Eros. In order to fight their fears and make life easier, rumors were spread that the mighty God does nothing without the approval of his mother – Aphrodite the Goddess of love.

Throughout the history infantilization was known and often used as an instrument in psychological combat against stronger spurenatural entities.

If Eros listens to one woman then he has no real power. Since it is considered a feature of a boy or even a baby, to always obey his mother, Eros’s existence was equalized with an infant. That is how, after the coming of Romans and copying most of the Greek Mythology, the slender man turned into the chubby boy with bow and arrows. This kind of depicting the most famous deity of desire stayed unchanged through the middle ages and still exists as such.

Bond of Symbolism

What binds Valentine and Cupid together is the nature of their symbolism. Both of them, God and man, were responsible for allowing love to flourish. Since Cupid comes from the old Roman empire where Valentine was a priest only a few centuries after Christianity started to spread, it is completely understandable on what bases was this pair connected. This obvious fact pushes us towards another question: “Is there anything more than symbolism?”

Cupid Cult – Was Saint Valentine a Member?

As it was expected when the religious swirl started after the death of Jesus Christ, Polytheistic creeds collided with Christianity. The rules of old times, as well as almost the whole human history, decided destinies of the ideas through wars and blood. Although at first, Christians were prosecuted and killed, odds quickly turned into their favor and Christianity became the dominant creed around 200 A.D. However it took one whole century for it to become an official religion of Rome(313 A.D.). Some fractions of polytheistic religions survived in the form of secret cults spread throughout the empire. One of those was the cult of Cupid. With the idea in which a pure pleasure thrived, the worshipers of the old God were clear opposition to Christianity and its ideals of modesty, humbleness, etc…

There is no greater opposition to the Christian way of life than the living of pleasure gods.

By some assumptions, despite being a priest in the Roman church, Saint Valentine’s beliefs in Jesus were not as pure as it seemed at first glance. And that was the real reason he opposed the laws that made marriages illegal. Knowing that the couples would hold the wedding ceremonies secret, Valentine saw an excellent chance to include some of the cupid motives in marriage rituals. Sometimes even to propose the ceremony in a manner of “Cupid’s creed”. Or to invite the just married couples to join the secret cult and attend the orgies. Getting young couples married was just a way of approaching potential recruits. It is important to note that it was in the year of 313 A.D. that old customs were proclaimed to be illegal. During Valentine’s time, they were strongly repressed which was the reason for taking risks under the veil of secrecy. Although this wild theory is not widely accepted, it could be the answer to a question about some hidden connections and deeper meanings that bypass pure commercialism.

Life of Valentine’s Holiday

Saint Valentine’s day started being popular at the beginning of the 1700s. At the beginning of the 19th century, the first traces of commercialism were noticeable as Cupid, who had no direct connections with the saint, due to his love creating abilities, became an inevitable part of a holiday. Back then, greeting card publishers truly had a sense of making good business. But it doesn’t end there. Recognition of appealing and profitable historic pair wouldn’t be enough to make sales thrive if it couldn’t be made cheap. Politics is what made Valentine’s day great and allowed its popularity to grow to a degree we have today.

U.S. Congress Made Valentine Great – Decreasing Postage Rates

Valentine Gift Card
Valentine Gift Card

In the 1850s the U.S. Congress decided to decrease postage rates. This act was committed as an attempt to circumvent privatization. From that point on, the greeting card industry flew sky-high since regular folks became able to send and receive mail. In addition to this, the Industrial Revolution with its innovations pushed the option of mass printing into the game which led to breaking the limits when it comes to the production of things like post-cards, written condolences, etc… Ordering cards and posting them to relatives and other beloved ones that live far soon turned to the mass custom which can be held for the foundation of today’s Valentine’s. For the end of the article, we give you one very speical song:

Every night in my dreams
I see you, I feel you,
That is how I know you go on

Far across the distance
And spaces between us
You have come to show you go on

Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you’re here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on

Love can touch us one time
And last for a lifetime
And never let go till we’re one

Love was when I loved you
One true time I hold to
In my life we’ll always go on

Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you’re here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on

There is some love that will not go away

You’re here, there’s nothing I fear,
And I know that my heart will go on
We’ll stay forever this way
You are safe in my heart
And my heart will go on and on…

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