Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Valentine's Day Massacre

Valentine’s Day Massacre

During 1920’s Prohibition, Chicago was embroiled in more gang-related gun violence than is found on the streets even today. One fateful Valentine’s Day in 1929 saw Al Capone‘s outfit wipe out their rival Southside Irish Gang led by Bugs Moran.

Al Capone’s men, disguised as Chicago Police officers, “arrested” members of Bugs’ outfit in what initially appeared to be a standard “shake down.” Seven men were lined up along the wall of an abandoned warehouse and summarily executed.

The gruesome brutality of the St. Valentine’s Day massacre marked the end of Capone’s days in Chicago. Citizens, outraged at the prevalence of violence and police corruption, demanded that the government take action against organized crime. While Capone would never be held accountability for any of his violent criminal activity or boos smuggling, he was ultimately indicted and convicted of income tax evasion.

See more in the story from the Chicago Tribune.

History’s Top Ten Demonstrations of Love

It’s well past Valentine’s Day but Smithsonian highlights history’s Top Ten Demonstrations of Love:

  1. Forever winning any argument in their marriage, King Edward VIII abdicates the throne in order to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson.
  2. One of the most famous royal love affairs was between Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert. When he died in 1861 from Typhoid fever, she spent the remainder of her life (40 years) in mourning – traveling with his portrait, living nearly in seclusion, and wearing black.
  3. Upon the death of his favorite wife, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the Taj Mahal.
  4. Lucille Ball, a popular radio star at the time, was offered a lucrative television contract. However, she refused to sign on without the involvement of her husband, Cuban pop-star and heart-throb, Desi Arnaz. The birth of “I Love Lucy“. Their later divorce would also go down in history.
  5. Eva Perón, immortalized in the musical Evita, was married to the dictator Juan Perón. In spite of her husband’s eventual overthrow and exile (as a result of his rather… distasteful and bloody methods of remaining in power), she stood by his side. Shortly before succumbing to cervical cancer, she gave a speech to her people in the presence of her husband: “To Peron. . . I shall never finish paying my debt, not until I give my life in gratitude for the kindness he has always shown me,” she told the tearful audience. “Nothing that I have, nothing that I am, nothing that I think is mine; it is Peron’s.”
  6. In 1927, after watching the challenges of his wife in her home-making duties (specifically the disposal of food products), John Hammes invented the garbage disposal! Homemakers rejoice!
  7. Marilyn Monroe is one of the most iconic figures of Hollywood. She was married three times, most famously to American Hero and Baseball player, Joe DiMaggio. After he death in 1962, he sent flowers to her grave every week, for decades.
  8. When his new wife was homesick for the lush landscape of her old life, King Nebuchadnezzar II built for her the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon (one of the wonders of the Ancient World).
  9. On Christmas morning 1870, composer Richard Wagner awoke his wife to a composition he had written specifically for the occasion, “Siegfried Idyll.” The piece was originally mean only for his wife’s ears, but later financial hardship required that he sell the rights.
  10. President William McKinley‘s wife Ida suffered from severe epileptic seizures. Ignoring protocol of the day, which would have included hiding his wife from public view, he insisted that she be seated next to him at all public state events and would readily tend to her when the need arose. When he was fatally shot in 1901, he told his men: “My wife—be careful…how you tell her.”

To read more about these stories of love, see the article in the Smithsonian: Top Ten Demonstrations of Love.

The Scandalous History of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has long enjoy a seedy, scandalous history stemming from ancient times. Originally, the Romans celebrated a festival called the Lupercalia on February 13-15. During this annual festival, nearly naked young men would run and strike fertile young women with leather thongs to encourage their changes of successfully conceiving and birthing children.

Lupercalia, of which many write that it was anciently celebrated by shepherds, and has also some connection with the Arcadian Lycaea. At this time many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped indelivery, and the barren to pregnancy. (Plutarch).

Later, the Catholic Church banned the Pagan celebration and declared February 14th in honor of Saint Valentine (Valentinus). However, his history is also steeped in mystery. In fact, the Catholic Church removed him from their official calendar of Saints in the 1960s.

To learn more about the history of Valentine’s Day, see the Discovery News Article: “The Seedy, Scandalous HIstory of Valentine’s Day.”