Lizzie Ashworth: The Origins of Valentine’s Day

Lizzie Ashworth: The Origins of Valentine’s Day

Bet you didn’t know that Valentine’s Day got its start in the Roman Empire with some public BDSM. That’s right. The feast of Lupercalia involved women lining up along the streets so men could run along and whip them with strips of animal hide (preferably goat or dog).

The ritual was supposed to increase female fertility and there’s actually no telling how far back in history this tradition might have started. A lottery followed the whipping with women’s names drawn from a jar by young men. Thus matched, the couple had sex for the rest of the three-day festival (Feb 13-15). (More on Lupercalia)

The name Valentine got connected with this sex orgy during the third century when Emperor Claudius II executed a priest named Valentine for secretly continuing to marry couples despite the emperor’s command that marriages must cease. Married men didn’t want to join the army and leave their families behind and Claudius needed more soldiers. The bludgeoning and beheading of Valentine occurred on February 14.

A little over the top on the BDSM there, Claudius.

Fast forward through a few more machinations of church and state to the Middle Ages when Chaucer and Shakespeare took up this old legend and made it more romantic. Lovers in those times crafted handmade paper cards to exchange as tokens of love. By 1913, the tradition had become so popular that Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Missouri started mass producing Valentine cards and commercial marketing took over.

In case you haven’t noticed, Valentine’s Day has become a major event on social calendars around the world. Sales reached nearly $18 BILLION last year and will likely continue to rise as everything from cards to chocolates to flowers to jewels makes the day a business success. And woe to the lover who fails to participate!

A little basic BDSM Roman style is my gift to you this Valentine’s Day. Use this 50% off coupon code DZ42S for the first of my two-book story of Caerwin, a young Celtic lass captured by a Roman tribune and taught to appreciate his, um, discipline. Don’t wait—coupon expires on the 14th.

Here’s the link:

Want to wow all your friends with more about Valentine’s Day history? Check out:

Want some fun ideas about homemade gifts, probably nicer than what lovers were doing in the Middle Ages? Check out heart-shaped foods at:

Or how about cute homemade gifts?

Or here:

Most of all, love YOU this Valentine’s Day with a special treat,
maybe a nice sexy book?

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