My Bloody Valentine

We buy the cards, the candy, the flowers. We associate this day with love and sweetness.

broken heart - bleeding heart
Detail of the painted bleeding heart – symbol of love – in grunge style

But do you know the bloody history behind this holiday?

There once was a royal prick, who ruled as Emperor from 268-270. He was known as Claudius II or Claudius Gothicus. During his short reign it is told (unverifiable of course) that he banned marriage because he thought his Roman men were better off being soldiers than spouses.

The Priest Valentine defied the emperor and performed marriages in secret. He was beheaded for his crimes. In a cool move by Karma, herself, Claudius died of small pox, ending his reign of terror.

Even more interesting is that we celebrate this day in February because the Catholic Church was trying to “christianize” the pagan holiday, Lupercalia. Roman priests would sacrifice a goat and a dog, strip the goat’s hide, cut it in to strips and dip it in blood, slapping it on women and fields for coming fertility. Oh yes…that’s romantic.

Portrait of a horrible scary zombie woman. Halloween.

Don’t worry, the blood continues.

Our favorite gangster, Al Capone, grew tired of his feud with George “Bugs” Moran. A $50k bounty on his head was the final straw. Capone ordered the Moran gang to be decimated. On February 14th, Moran waited for his men during a whiskey run. As he waited outside, seven of his best men were being slaughtered inside. On the seven year anniversary, again on February, 14th, one of Capone’s assassins was killed inside a bowling alley by gunfire.

I’m sure my readers are a little freaked. I mean, really, an erotic romance author is just killing our lovey-dovey holiday?

I just love irony. So while you’re cuddled up with your loved one at your Valentine’s Day celebration, remember that you’re celebrating one of the bloodiest holidays in our history.

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