Happy Lupercalia Day (or not)

Once upon a romantic time, hundreds and hundreds of years ago, back when humans believed some weird things, there was a wonderful holiday in Rome. It was celebrated around the 15th of February and it was a special time that was believed to bring fertility and purification throughout the year.

First, A goat and a dog would be sacrificed upon an altar, the first for fertility and the second for purification, both to the God of agriculture, Faunus, and to Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. After the sacrifice, strips of the goat’s hide were cut from the body and dipped in sacrificial blood. Men would then take the strips and would gently slap women with them. Women, wanting to be fertile and pure, welcomed the event. Afterwards, all the maiden’s names would be put in an urn. Bachelors would then draw a name and the couple would be matched until the following Lupercalia Day. Often, the couple would end up married.

Christianity eventually outlawed this practice when Pope Gelasius declared February 14th St. Valentine’s Day in honor of Valentine, a priest who would wed couples in secret during a time when Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriages. Valentine was imprisoned and while behind bars he would write to his one true love, the jailer’s daughter. Before his execution, he wrote one last letter and closed by writing,

From your Valentine.

I have no goat nor dog to sacrifice. I lack an alter, too. DW doesn’t need to be fertile as we’re done having kids. Therefore, I won’t smack her with strips of goat hide dipped in blood. I think that’s a real sign true love. You’re, welcome hon.

I may not have a goat, or a dog, or an alter, or the desire to sacrifice an animal, or even to smack my wife, gently or otherwise, but I do have a purpose. That purpose lies in being the best husband and father that I can be. I can be their Valentine. I’ll never give up on them. I’ll never give up loving them. I’ll never give up their love for me. Even on the days it’s hard to like them.

After almost thirteen years of marriage and through the raising of two kids, one thing I’ve learned is that we’re better when we work together. We have the common goal of raising happy, healthy, and educated kids. Granted, some days it appears we’re failing on all three accounts. However, we know there will be hurdles to jump and bridges to cross. Together, my valentine and I are prepared to jump and cross.

So, to my Valentine, Happy Valentine’s Day. And a Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too, reader. I hope your day was filled with more chocolate, love, and loved ones than sacrificed goats.

Happy Love Day

Today is the day we all show a bit more love than the other 365 days this year (it’s a leap year, remember?). To some it’s just another Hallmark Holiday. A day created for the retailers. For the flower shops and the chocolate makers. There is a history to it, though. And it dates back farther than you might think.

Back in the days of the Roman Empire, some 2,000 years ago, on February 14th all the girls would write their name and place it in a jar. Then each boy would draw a name and the maiden they drew would be their partner for the duration of the festival that would begin the following day. Naturally, a few of these pairings would last until the couple fell in love and got married.

However, Claudius later banned this act as he saw fewer men joining the military because they didn’t want to leave behind their wife and children. He forbid engagements and marriages thereby causing them to held secretly. A priest by the name of Valentine performed the rituals behind closed doors. However, like all good things, Valentine was discovered, captured, and thrown in jail.

The couples he had wed in secret sent him cards and letters of encouragement. In jail is also where he fell in love with the jailer’s blind daughter. He penned a letter to his love and signed it “From Your Valentine”. He was executed the following day for his crimes. Sometime after his death, it is believed the jailer’s daughter miraculously regained her sight. Most say it was true love that brought it back.

To this day, we celebrate St. Valentine’s Day by sending cards and letters of love just as Valentine’s supporters sent to him while he was jailed. Just as Valentine sent a letter to his love. It brings new meaning to the question, “Will you be my Valentine?”

Yes, of course I will DW.

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