First, let me make it clear that I am a peace-loving, hippie-dog and would never commit a violent act against cupids, cherubs or any other fictional (or real) messagère de l'amour. The picture above is purely in fun, no real cherubs were injured in its creation.
What pops into your mind when you think of Valentine's Day? Hallmark greeting cards with lovey-dovey rhymes? Frilly boxes filled with gooey chocolate confections? Or, does the holiday conjure up thoughts of cherubs leaping hither and yon, ready to pierce unsuspecting singles with their love-arrows? Well, it's time you learned the legends behind the origins of this heart-filled human holiday. I've uncovered two possibilities:
Origin 1 - The Emperor of Rome, Claudius II, (a.k.a. “Claudius the Cruel”) was having a tough time recruiting soldiers to fight his bloody and senseless battles, so ol’ Claude cancelled all marriages and engagements, believing men would be better off married to the Roman army. It's not a job, it's a honeymoon!
But brave Saint Valentine came to the rescue of young lovers and continued to perform marriages in secret. Claude was irate at Valentine's defiance and ordered he be beaten to death with clubs and then decapitated. Is that where the word "overkill" originated?
During his confinement, he fell in love with his jailor’s daughter who was a frequent visitor. Legend has it that before he met his gruesome demise on February 14th, he wrote her a love letter and signed it, “From your Valentine.” The date of his death, his valediction and the sentiment behind it, are commemorated annually.
Origin 2 - The ancient Roman fertility festival, Lupercalia, was dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture, Fauna, and observed from February 13th through the 15th. The festival began with the sacrificing of a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. That is so wrong! Then, these highly civilized humans would dip strips of the goat's hide in blood, and run through Rome slapping women with them. Ewww! The women welcomed the blood-bath hoping it would ensure the birth of a bouncing baby Roman in the coming year.
It is also said that during Lupercalia, single women's names were drawn from an urn by Roman bachelors who would pair with them for the length of the festival, or longer, if there was some actual chemistry going on.
So, there you have it, on Valentine's Day, you're either commemorating the death of a man who was wrongly imprisoned, wrote a love letter to a chick he picked-up while on death row, was beaten to death and beheaded or, you're paying homage to a Roman god of corn who has something against goats and cute, innocent, little puppies. And ladies, I ask you, what says "I love you" better than being smacked with the hide of a dead animal drenched in blood? How romantic!
Bo Obama's Dog Blog sources: History.com