It’s the holiday meant to celebrate love, but there’s more to it than red hearts and provocative lingerie.
Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is popular and observed in almost every country in the world. But just like every other annual event, there are a couple of dark truths lurking behind its glorious façade, and we thought you should know about them!
St Valentine is the patron saint of epilepsy and plague. Although we call it Valentine’s Day, there was a time not long ago when it was actually referred to as St Valentine’s Day. Now the Catholic Church acknowledges about 10 figures under the name of Saint Valentine, but the one who is most associated with 14 February is the third-century Roman priest who was beheaded in 269AD under the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius II. This particular Valentine, on top of being the patron saint of love, lovers, engaged couples and those who are happily married, is also the patron saint of beekeepers, fainting, epilepsy and the plague. He must have a very busy schedule up in Heaven!
St Valentine’s remains were once gifted by the Pope. When, in 1835, an Irish preacher by the name of John Spratt delivered a sermon in Rome, Pope Gregory XVI was so impressed that he sent him some of St Valentine’s remains. Don’t think of Pope Gregory XVI as generous, however. The Roman Catholic Church has never been a big fan of St Valentine’s, particularly because very little is known about him. In fact, in 1969, the Church reduced St Valentine to a non-entity and removed him from the Roman Catholic Saints Calendar – nevertheless, St Valentine’s Day lives on!
St Valentine’s Day induces rage and hatred in people. Apparently, the number of homicides and partner violence against women goes up on and around Valentine’s Day. Although, in reality, people don’t actually know why this happens, some have attributed this strange phenomenon to levels of stress, arguing that the number of murders and partner violence increases after natural disasters as well.
St Valentine’s Day seven-tonne chocolate heart. According to the Guinness World Records, the biggest chocolate heart ever made was a seven-tonne creation by Chocovic, Spain’s largest chocolate maker. It was sponsored by Match.com and unveiled in Madrid on 13 February 2004.
St Valentine’s Day has a lot of haters. In Saudi Arabia, the holiday is banned and deemed ‘a pagan feast’; in Pakistan it’s called ‘a shameful day’; while in India, a Hindu group is known to have made bonfires fuelled by Valentine’s Day cards on the day.
Anything Evelyn forgot to mention about Valentine’s Day secret history? We’d love to hear it!