I will be celebrating Valentine’s Day like I do each year. With a succulent cut of steak, a beautiful bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and my oh so lovely wife! It’s such a sweet holiday to show your partner what they mean to you but do you know the dark origins of Valentine’s Day? Me neither, so I looked it up and I will never look at cupid in the same way.
Turns out the Romans knew it as the feast of Lupercalia (February 13th-15th). As I write this, I am blushing so I don’t want to go into too much detail. Let’s just say they didn’t all wear their togas to the party! The oddest thing I learned was that they sacrificed a goat and a dog then tore a strip of the sacrificial animal off and smacked the ladies with said animal flesh to bless the women with fertility. Then, they drank bowl after bowl of wine. Red wine, I imagine! Probably not Tertulia though. We weren’t around back in the days of yore.
In the third century Emperor Claudius II had it in for a couple of blokes named Valentine. On you guessed it, February 14th he had them executed. Later, the Catholic Church canonized them. Later still, a Pope who’s name I can’t pronounce combined the two holidays as a way to bring the pagans into the Church. The revelry wasn’t so, let’s just say, Roman in nature. They still drank wine but this time in cups!
Shakespeare and Chaucer romanticized it. People began passing around handmade cards and drank wine! Eventually it made its way to the new world. Then in the early 20th century in some dark smoke filled room the evil cabal of Valentine’s Day met. Hallmark was there as I am sure where chocolatiers and representatives of the floral industry. A dastardly plan was hatched to commercialize the holiday. Now reservations at restaurants are impossible to find! You almost need to take out a second mortgage to buy a dozen roses!! They are bleeding us dry!!!
I am sure if I explain this evil conspiracy to my wife I will only be met with scorn. So I will concede defeat and go through all the motions of this preposterous holiday. Still I wonder if my wife will let me slap her with the rib eye before I throw it in my cast iron. Either way a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon will take the sting away.