From Your Valentine

Sup joons,

Valentine’s Day can make us feel pretty resentful. I haven’t had a “romantic” Valentine’s Day since… ever. Once I bought my ex flowers, then the following year we broke up. The year after we were still broken up but trying, (which is always horrible), and last year it went to hell.


This year I have hopes in having a lovey dovey day. Not expectations, but hopes. As baba says…

“If you expect, you will be disappointed. If you hope, you will only get sad.”

February gets a lot of cold shoulders (pun intended) from those shunning Valentine’s Day. You’re either bumming about singledom or raging against the commercialism machine.

But, like many Western holidays, did you know Valentine’s Day comes from Roman and Christian beliefs and traditions?

Way back when Romans wore olive branches and togas, February was the month for celebrating agricultural bounty. Cries of “Tend the grapes!” were probably shouted all over the place while the humble Roman folk were preparing to get jiggy with their favorite reason for February: Lupercalia.Lupercalia was a fertility feast celebrated on February 15 where Romans paid homage to Faunus, their god of agriculture.

Roman priests (Luperci) sacrificed goats and dogs, and then stripped the goat hide away and slapped town women with the hide to bestow upon them more fertile wombs. Roman women welcomed this gesture, believing it could help them yield many a crop of strong Roman boys and more bloody-goat-hide-lovin’ Roman ladies.

This year, ask your sweetheart to do the same thing – if he slaps you with bloody goat hide, he’s a keeper and you may want to start planning your khastegari.


The Church, fearing and loathing the pagans, crushed this celebration and Lupercalia was outlawed for being heathen and outlandish.

It was then replaced with Valentine’s Day. Who the hell was Valentine anyway and why did he get to replace animal sacrificing and blood slapping parties?


The Church recognizes at least three saints named Valentine, and all were martyred. One story suggests that Valentine was a priest who disobeyed the decree of Emperor Claudius II by continuing to marry single men even though the emperor said “Stop all marriages, for single men make better soldiers!”

Other stories say that a Valentine was killed for helping Christians escape Roman prisons. While he was imprisoned, he sent a secret love note (the first Valentine) to his sweetheart. Allegedly, he signed his note “From your Valentine.

In the 5th century, Pope Gelasius officially declared February 14th as the day of love in honor of the martyred Valentines. Lupercalia was deemed “un-Christian” and met its demise.

In short…

Valentine’s Day is about both a few good men who were suckers for romance and were killed in the process, and to pagan beliefs in fertility.

If you’re feeling sour this year, send a secret love letter from a horrible prison or go slap someone with a bloody goat hide. That will make you feel better.

Doesn't that look fun?

Doesn’t that look fun?

Joons, many holidays celebrated in other cultures have evolved from ancient traditions and then changed with the times. Recognizing that shift can bring a new perspective to your viewpoints. Iroonis are not without the same thing; after all, Norooz has roots in Zoroastrianism, yet another kind of paganism.

If jumping over a fire to celebrate the New Year isn’t pagan, then I don’t know what is.

Eshghemani, don’t be a limoo amani about Valentine’s Day. It has deep historic roots in some of the most pivotal parts of Western/religious histories (which were very violent and hateful).

It’s not a fictitious holiday created for the sake of corporate profit (entirely). This Valentine’s day, whether you’re single or taken, remember how much we’ve evolved since the brutal early 1000s.

Be thankful nobody’s trying to rob you of your culture or kill you for doing what you think is just.





NASEEM نسیم 

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  1. Being an “observer” of all the valentine’s day’s antics and panic is the best part :-)

  2. Just a little side note, Zoroastrianism isn’t a form of paganism. It’s actually a monotheistic religion. To be more accurate, the first monotheistic religion.

  3. Thanks for correcting me, Niloo. I should have rewritten the phrasing to be historically accurate.

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