JON KANEKO-JAMES looks at the darker side of the special annual day for lovers with some horrible St Valentines Day facts.
10 Horrible St Valentines Day Facts that will Shock You!
- The term ‘from your Valentine’ has more in common with Guantanamo Bay than San Francisco Bay. The first letter signed with the now famous phrase was a letter from the early Christian Saint to a jailer’s daughter just before he was martyred.
- To celebrate a truly Pagan Valentine’s Day, rather than burning incense or tasting cakes and ale, budding witches should instead be running through the streets slapping each other with bloody strips of freshly shredded goat skin – or at least, that was how the Romans celebrated their 14th February festival of Lupercalia.
- Even though she’s both fictional and long dead, none of that stops Juliet Capulet, one of the two ‘star-crossed’ (i.e. ‘really unlucky’) lovers from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, getting over 1000 Valentine’s Day cards delivered to her home town of Verona every year.
- In the spirit of Valentine’s Day romance, in 1312 Pope Clement V declared ‘kissing with the intent to fornicate’ as a mortal sin! Next time you’re making out with your Valentine, ask yourself: ‘Is this endangering my soul?’ (It isn’t.)
- If you’re in Scotland, you might be interested to know that you have a particularly strong link to Valentine’s Day: the Saint’s bones are said to be stored in Glasgow!
- Another important factor in celebrating an authentic Romano-Pagan Valentine’s Day is protecting your beloved from fetish-werewolves! Just take the blood of the goat you sacrificed to make your strip of goat skin and mix with with the blood of a dog. Now, just smear it on your partner’s forehead and they’ll be safe from all those sexy werewolves out there!
- Talking about sexy werewolves: the priests of Luperci supervised a Lupercalia rite where young men would create themselves as werewolves, donning wolf-skins to chase their sweethearts around the village, lassoing them with whips. Once bound together the couple would carry each other away for as long as the romance lasted, the eager wolfman even going as far as to bite his lover’s flesh!
- Ladies and gents: Regardless of what your sweetheart might have said at New Year’s, don’t try discontinuing the tradition of Valentines’ chocolate. 17th Century Bishop Bernardino de Salazar was poisoned to death, just for banning his lady-parishioners from drinking chocolate during mass!
- The Spanish Inquisition also knew the romantic power of chocolate. One 17th Century (anti-Catholic) story tells of the Inquisitor Don Francisco Torrejon, who plied a young girl with seductive drinks of chocolate before making her part of his sinister ecclesiastical harem.
- Roses are one of the most romantic ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day: Roman mythology says that roses got their thorns from one day when Cupid was sniffing a flower and got stung by the bee inside. Enraged, he took his mother’s suggestion and shot 10 more bees with his bow and arrow, skewering their stings to the rose’s stem, giving it thorns.