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  • Writer's pictureThe Matchmaker

Valentines Day, its history and Matchmaking

It seems every year around Valentines day a thousand articles come out about the day and how single people should deal with it.

Here is an alternate way of looking at the day. From a historical perspective the origins of the day are a bit...dark and dismal. On Feb. 14 some time in the 3rd century A.D., the Romans executed two men by the name Valentine. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day. In addition, from February 13 to 15, Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. Both a goat and a dog were sacrificed followed by drunk and naked men whipping women with the hides of the dead animals. According to historians, young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, believing this act would make them fertile. The odd celebration also included a matchmaking lottery in which men drew the names of women from a jar and the pair would be 'matched' in the biblical way for the rest of the festival.

In the 5th century, this festival was combined with St. Valentine's Day by the Pope to neutralize the pagan ritual. Both Chaucer and Shakespeare helped romanticize St. Valentine's Day in their work and it gained popularity throughout Britain and Europe. Handmade paper cards were first exchanged in the Middle Ages.

Today the holiday is big business with sales reaching over  $18.5 billion.

So maybe thinking back to the origins of the day will cause both singles and non singles alike to pause and reflect on the brutality and bizarreness that started it all!

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