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Today Valentine’s Day is associated with romantic love, and it’s treated as an opportunity to shower your partner and possibly buy sexy lingerie and chocolate. But the holiday’s origins are actually dark as hell. The roots go back to ancient Rome and the feast of Lupercalia, where men would reportedly sacrifice animals and whip women with their skins to help promote their fertility.
The ceremony also supposedly included matchmaking, where men would be paired up with women based on names drawn from a jar.
But by the mid-1800s, the holiday started turning into the commercial affair we know it as today. Valentine’s Day cards, Cadbury’s chocolates in heart-shaped boxes, diamond jewelry, and — yes — lingerie became hot consumer items for shoppers leading up to February 14th. The rest is (very pink, very heart-covered) history.