valentines day roses playlist
Aside from roses, like these ones in Kolkata on Feb. 7, 2018, a romantic playlist is also perfect for Valentine’s Day. Digbyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images


  • In ancient Rome, Roman men would sacrifice a dog and whip women with the hides of sacrificed animals
  • Young women would line up for the men to whip them, believing it would make them more fertile
  • Historians believe that the holiday has both Roman and Christian roots

While Valentine's Day is considered a Hallmark holiday – with all the hearts and kisses associated with it, the origins of the heart's day celebrated by most are a bit bloody and gory.

In ancient Rome, Roman men would sacrifice a dog and whip women with the hides of the sacrificed animals, believing that the ritual would make women more fertile, Noel Lenski, a religious studies professor at Yale University told NPR.

According to Lenski, young women would line up for the men to whip them. Young men would reportedly draw names of women from a jar as a sort of matchmaking.

The outlet also said that the Romans might also be the source of the name of the holiday after Emperor Claudius II executed two men named "Valentine" on Feb. 14 during the third century. The men's martyrdom was then reportedly honored by the Catholic Church through the celebration of St. Valentine's Day.

As per the History Channel, the tradition is rooted in both Roman and Christian timelines. The first "Valentine" executed by Claudius II was a priest who existed and served during the third century. At the time, soldiers of the Roman army were not allowed to marry their significant others, but Valentine reportedly wedded soldiers and their loved ones in private.

Another theory of the holiday's origins is the Pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival reportedly celebrated in tribute to the Roman god of agriculture, Faunus.

The said celebration was said to be dated every 15th of February. However, many suspected the celebration was Christianized to create Valentine's Day on Feb. 14.

According to History, in the morning of Lupercalia, the priests of Lupercus, known as Luperci, gathered at Lupercal cave, where Romulus and Remus were cared for as babies.

"In a representation of fertility and because Lupercus was a god of shepherds, two male goats were sacrificed in the cave," the outlet wrote. "This was followed by the sacrifice of a dog to represent purification and because dogs often guard the flocks."

It continued, "Blood taken from the sacrificial knife was then smeared across the foreheads of two naked Luperci. The knife was then wiped clean with a piece of milk-soaked wool."

Because of the tradition, many historians speculate that the ritual explains why Valentine's Day got associated with the colors red and white. The red reportedly represents the blood from the sacrifice, while white represents the milk on the wool that wipes the knife clean, signifying new life.

The Valentine's Day celebration full of hearts and cupids practiced today is a product of industrialization during the eighteenth century, according to History. The new tradition came with couples giving each other mass-produced romantic cards — the Hallmark holiday we know today.

Valentine’s Day
Consumers can save money by sending an e-card for Valentine’s Day. Papyrus stationary display of Valentines day cards are pictured at New York Fashion Week on Feb. 16, 2016 in New York City. Getty Images