…The origin of Valentine’s Day has nothing to do with love and everything to do with “torturous martyrdom.”
....More plausibly, writes Elizabeth White Nelson, the tradition of expressing love on Valentine’s Day comes from the Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility rite held on February 15. Typically, the medieval church would try to combine saints’ feast days with pagan festivals, to boost Church loyalty and participation.
Whatever the reasons, by the 1500s the link between Valentine’s Day, courtship, and love was established. The religious meanings of the day faded; its amorous meanings grew.
Rituals emerged in Europe in the 1600s and 1700s to divine future spouses on Valentine’s Day. Some young people went to churchyards at midnight to await an omen, but drawing lots was the most common practice of divination. Clergyman Henry Bourne explained in 1725, “it is aceremony, …to draw Lots, which they term Valentines…
Read the rest at Valentine’s Day: Its Gory, Unromantic Secret History | Marriage 3.0 | Big Think