The origins of St Valentine's Day - Probably

Valentine's Day is here again, and as a time to celebrate romance and love, it’s a day we can all appreciate.

Unless we’re single.

But the origins of this festival of candy and cupids are actually dark, bloody and a little bit muddled.

No one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday, one good place to start is ancient Rome, where from Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The festival included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be together for the rest of the party - or longer if they happen to “click”.

It was Emperor Claudius II who gave us the name for St Valentines Day by executing two men— both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day.

Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine's Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn't stop it from being a day of fertility and love.

Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin's Day. Galatin meant "lover of women." That was likely confused with St. Valentine's Day at some point, in part because they sound alike.

Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticise Valentine's Day in their work, and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe, and as the years went on, the holiday grew sweeter.

Eventually, the tradition made its way to the New World. The industrial revolution ushered in factory-made cards in the 19th century. And in 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began mass producing valentines. February has not been the same since.

Many couples choose Valentines Day to get a matching tattoo, so if you’re in the mood this year, bring your significant other down to Sunset and we’ll do the rest.