Each February 14th, many people exchange cards, Love Poems, candy, gifts, red roses, a romantic dinner, hugs and kisses to their special “Valentine.” For those folks who don’t have a special someone, this day can be torturous, and my heart goes out to you. However, I believe that if you’re patient and wise, your special someone will be found.
I had to go online to research Valentine’s Day in order to find its origins, and I was a little surprised by what I found. Apparently, the day of romance is named for a Christian Martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but has roots in the Roman holiday Feast Lupercalia, a bloody festival, and a violent murder. That’s enough reason for me not to celebrate Valentine’s Day! I hope my wife will understand. Ha! Of course I’m joking, because I value my life too.
There are several versions and legends associated with the popular day, along with the Middle Ages belief by the people in England and France, that birds began to mate from this day. I’m not buying into that belief, which sounds a tad bit ridiculous.
It is said by Historians that the Romans of ancient times, honored Juno on February 14th, The queen of Roman gods and goddesses, and who was also a goddess of Women and Marriage. On the following day, they began the fertility festival called Feast of Lupercalla, in order to honor two more false gods of agriculture, Lupercus and Faunus. It further continued throughout that year, by pairing boys and girls together after drawing written names out of a jar. Is it me, or were those folks a little out of touch with reality.
Another story goes that a romantic at heart priest of Rome Saint Valentine, defied Emperor Claudius II bloody campaigns, and orders to cancel all marriages and engagements. He secretly continued marrying couples anyway, which landed him in the dungeon, where he was brutally beaten and put to death on February 14, 270 AD. If true, that takes conviction!
According to another version, Valentine was killed because he attempted to help Christians escape from the Roman prison. Yet another popular version of the legend states that while in prison Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter who visited him during confinement. Before his death, he wrote a farewell letter to his sweetheart from behind bars, and signed ‘From your Valentine.’ What a guy! He was thinking of her before his death, instead of his last meal. The expression became very popular amongst love struck then and is still very much in vogue.
Around 498 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day to honor the martyr Valentinus and to end the pagan celebrations. Hooray! The popularity of Valentine’s Day has spread in countries across the seven continents and is still increasing by the year. If you’d like to learn more, there’s a ton of websites addressing it.