Still confused by all those Valentines running around Imperial Crisis-era Roman Empire? So are the people cataloging them! That's why at the Second Vatican Council Pope Paul VI eliminated all 12 feasts of St. Valentine from the Liturgical Calendar. How's that for a St. Valentine's Day massacre?
That's right: Valentine's Day hasn't really been St. Valentine's Day since 1969.
Their official reason was that they couldn't verify or distinguish most of the Sts. Valentine, but I think we all know the real cause. It was 1969, and the world was still suffering the effects of the Sex Crisis two years earlier, when the Summer of Love drained most of humanity's love reserves. Which, in turn, is why we needed more oil to lubricate our shameful sex acts, causing the energy crisis a few years after that.
With that, the holiday was unfettered, free to become a morass of Necco candy and roses purchased at a gas station at a 600 percent markup.
But let's go all the way back to antiquity and see if we shouldn't celebrate it after all ... albeit more ingenuously.
The legend of Rome's founders, Romulus and Remus, says that as infants they were nursed in infancy by a wolf -- although the Latin word "lupa," or "she-wolf," was also a slang term for a prostitute. Rome preferred the wolf version of the legend, because it was embarrassing for a city founded in rape and fratricide to have its origins in sex work.
We shall call her Wolf Nurse.
All this took place in a cave called the Lupercal, which archaeologists probably unearthed in 2007. Wolf Nurse was honored every February 13 to 15 during Lupercalia -- although just to confuse things the holiday was primarily dedicated to the god Lupercus, a Latin name meaning "He who throws bitchin' parties." During "The Festival of the Wolf," his priests, the Brothers of the Wolf, dressed up in goatskins to honor him. Not wolfskins, because that would make sense, although he did have goat legs. Yeah, he was basically Pan.
Marie-Lan Nguyen via Wikipedia
He looks like every guy named Gary you've ever known.
Meanwhile, Rome's noble youths ran naked through the streets, giving zero fucks but many lashings to any woman they ran across "with shaggy thongs." This supposedly conferred healthy, hearty pregnancies, because babies are stronger when they're conceived in kink. That's a science FACT, friend, and you can look it up in your Encyclopedia Dominatio.
Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
Cracked's lawyers prefer that I don't Photoshop a baby in a gimp mask, so enjoy this leather strop.
A great many ladies of the republic placed themselves in the way of these wildlings to have their hands stropped, because a healthy pregnancy begins with open wounds in a country that doesn't use soap.
Now, a lot of scholars will tell you that there isn't enough of a connection to call Lupercalia a precursor to Valentine's Day. But what do they know? They haven't even been flogged by werewolves, and so they cannot speak to the truth known by the human heart -- that love comes in many forms at many times, but if any of them loved you, they'd buy you chocolate.
Related reading: Brendan wanted to know What Love Is, and he wanted you to show him. He also unveiled more holiday mysteries in 5 Reasons Cinco de Mayo Is the Most American Holiday.
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