Published On: Tue, Feb 14th, 2012

Happy Valentine

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It’s Valentine’s Day so time to eat tons of chocolate, buy roses, or show your secret admiration for your neighbor’s wife. But Valentine’s day originally used to be the day when the Romans showed lust and practiced human sacrifice. Yep. it’s true:

“On every February 14 the Romans celebrated Lupercalia, a holiday devoted to Lupercus, a god with a wolfish name who protected the flocks. Men of noble birth would sacrifice a dog and/or a goat in the cave where Romulus and Remus supposedly were suckled by a wolf. After the sacrifice, the men (either nude or scantily clad) would run through the streets striking women with strips of bloody animal skin to purify them and encourage fertility. February is named after the bloody strips, or februa, which means instrument of purification. ”

Luckily for us that changed over time and when the Valentine’s Day post hits the mat today, millions will be hoping for tender messages from loved ones or hints from secret admirers.

But in the 19th Century, some Valentine’s cards contained a vicious sting – with sarcastic and obnoxious captions designed to upset and humiliate.

They were often swapped by estranged couples or simply posted to those who had somehow annoyed the sender.

They were sent anonymously and, prior to the introduction of the Penny Black stamp in 1840, it was the appalled recipient who had to pick up the cost of the postage as an extra contribution to the The vicious Valentine cards that promised endless hate.

Cackle cackle all the day, Little heeding what you say and right

Look at home, enough is here to require your utmost care

A 1950s version of one of the insulting cards

Such an artiful schemer, never did I see one half so clever

For your Cousin is coming poor hungry man…

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About the Author

- As a creative strategist I work on complex (digital) communications issues for international industry leading companies, organizations and agencies. I'm interested in how technology integrates with (and influences) traditional marketing, media, human behavior, society and culture.

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