Long before today's Valentine's Day of heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, there was Lupercalia, an ancient Roman day of bloody goatskin thongs and animal sacrifice. You know, the good old days.
Held in mid-February, Lupercalia was celebrated to ward off evil spirits and promote fertility. Priests who worshiped Faunus dressed in goatskins, sacrificed two male goats and a dog, then ran around the city swatting women with pieces of goatskin from the sacrificial victims. It was thought that by being hit with the skin, a woman would be more fertile or have an easy birth. Strangely, Pope Gelasius didn't consider the rite to be very Christian, putting an end to it in 496 A.D. and establishing the feast of St. Valentine.