Day of love marked by gruesome, bloody history


photo or infographic by Kat

Although known for love and romance, February 14 has a bloody past.

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, people are buying candies, flowers, chocolates, and teddy bears.  They spend hundreds of dollars to buy these products, not thinking about how this holiday came to be. The truth behind February 14 is actually quite disturbing and not romantic at all. Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate romance and love but the origins from the holiday of cupids and candy are actually dark, gruesome and bloody.  No one knows the exact start of the holiday but a good place to start is in Rome where the men hit on women. Yes, they physically hit them.

Dating back from Ancient Rome on February 13th to 15th, Romans celebrated the feast Lupercalia. On this day the men would sacrifice a goat and a dog and the men then would whip the woman with the hides of the animals they had just slayed. The young woman would line up to be hit by the men believing it could make them fertile. The young men would then draw the name of a young woman and they were to be coupled for the rest of the festival. The Ancient Roman may also be responsible for our modern day of love. On February 14th of different years in the 3rd century A.D., Emperor Claudius II had executed two men both named Valentine. Their martyrdom was then honored by the catholic church with a celebration called St. Valentine’s Day. Later in the 5th century Pope Gelasius combined St. Valentine’s Day and Lupercalia to expel the old day rituals. 

Another depressing yet true fact about Valentine’s Day is a gang warfare Chicago massacre that happened in the late 1920s. Chicago’s gang warfare reached its bloody climax in the so-called St. Valentine’s Day massacre in 1929 on February 14th. Al Capone had a long time enemy, Irish gangster George “Bugsy”  Morgan. Who ran his own bootleg operations out of a garage on the north side of Chicago. On the day known for romance, seven members of Morgan’s operations were gunned down while standing lined up, facing the wall of the garage. When the police officers from Chicago’s 36th district arrived, they found gang member, Frank Gusenberg, barely alive. The police could only find a few eyewitnesses, but they eventually concluded that gunmen dressed as police officers had entered the garage and pretended to be policemen arresting Morgan’s gang members. No one was ever brought to trial for this crime.

February 14th of 1913 Hallmark started to offer Valentine’s Day cards, but did not begin to produce them and put them on the shelves until 1916.

— Katlyn Coyer

Although with all of the gruesome and depressing events that have occurred on this day Hallmark has found a way to keep the love and romance alive. February 14th of 1913 Hallmark started to offer Valentine’s Day cards, but did not begin to produce them and put them on the shelves until 1916. To this day Hallmark is still producing and selling Valentine’s Day cards and making millions of dollars off of them in the process. Approximately 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged nationwide every year, not to mention the 200 million others exchanged in classrooms.

Valentine’s Day is a time when people show feelings of love, affection and friendship. Many people celebrate Valentine’s Day by showing appreciation for the people they love and adore. Some might take a loved one for a romantic dinner or others choose this day to propose to their significant other. Many people give cards, chocolates, jewelry or flowers, especially roses, to their admirers on this day of love and romance. Some others may also see it as a time to appreciate friends in social circles. So stop by that tent at Kroger’s, plan a Galentine’s Day with your single friends or take your grandma to the movies. The small things people do to show they care sometimes mean the most on Valentine’s Day.