by Brianny Martinez

Could this romantic and loving holiday hold a cruel and dark beginning? There are several theories that revolve around the origin of Valentine’s Day. The most common theory explains that the holiday originates in Ancient Rome when the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia from February 13 to 15.  The men sacrificed animals during the feast and whipped women with the skin of the animals they killed. Surprisingly, women would line up eagerly to get whipped. The Romans believed that this practice increased fertility in women. The feast also included the practice of pairing men and women through a lottery. As Ancient Rome later became a Christian empire, these cruel practices were replaced with theatrical performances; however, the day continued to be a day of fertility and later, love. Another theory involves a Roman emperor executing two men both named Valentine on February 14. Their deaths were honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day.