Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a celebration of love, affection and spending frivolous amounts of money to prove the two aforementioned. Although V-Day is littered with pink glitter and affirmations of love, a look behind the scenes would make even the most heartless bastard squirm. Valentine’s Day’s origins and traditional gifts are so dark they could give Cupid a mid-flutter heart-attack.
The Dark, Bloody and Violent Origins of the Day of Love
Between February 13 and 15, Ancient Romans celebrated Lupercalia. Now, knowing the Romans, you can expect this holiday to be a lot less The Notebook and a little more Saw IV. To celebrate this day, instead of giving a toga-ed love interest chalky heart candies with corny sayings on them, you would whip them with a goat and dog hide – oh, that you had to sacrifice yourself. But where’s the famous Roman debauchery everyone loves? you ask. Here it is: during the festival, they held a ‘couple lottery’; young men drew women’s names out of a jar and then, well…. bow chicka wow wow for the rest of the festival. If their bits matched up well enough, it could actually continue beyond the end of the festival. The modern celebration is the result of a Roman Emperor decapitating two Christians with the name Valentine on February 14.
Image source: Weekends in Paradelle
Chocolate is bad, roses are evil
Remember the hubbub about ethically sourced coffee a few years ago? Although everyone made a huge fuss about the evils of coffee farming, nobody raised an eyebrow about chocolate. Chocolate is currently the most unethically source commodity in the world, and involves human trafficking, slavery and child labor of the worst form. That heavenly morsel out of a red foil, heart-shaped box might cost a lot more than what you paid for. Some of the farmers that produce chocolate are so poor that they have never tried the finished product. In the video below, they try it for the first time in their lives.
That sweet smelling dozen rose bouquet, a symbol of love and attraction, is just as bad. Produced mainly in South America, shipping red roses comes with a hefty price: tons and tons of greenhouse gases. So, don’t complain about the $100 you had to pay for flowers; it also cost the environment a fair bit, too. Well, at least their fair trade. Unless they come from Africa which again uses child labor and forced labor for harvesting.
Oh, come on, you knew this was coming. According to Amnesty International, 13% of jewelry resellers offer guarantees that their gems are not sourced from areas of conflict. And let’s be honest: if they’re not offering guarantees, that probably means that the gems are conflict gems. Remember, that pretty rock has cost 3.7 million people their lives. You know what else hurts the environment? Gold. Yes, another staple of Valentine’s Day results in 180 million tons of waste – allow me to amend that statement – 180 million tons of highly hazardous waste to be dumped in bodies of water. These mining by-products contain mercury, metal sulfides (that turn into sulfuric acid when they come into contact with water) and cyanide. All those things are poisons if you haven’t kept track.
Are you going to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Well, shame on you! Are there any other reasons why this Celebration of Love is completely despicable? Let us know in the comment section below.