History of Valentine's Day
Valentine’s Day has always been the day dedicated to lovers. There are many stories as to how Valentine’s day started. Here are a few of them.
Valentine’s Day has its origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, observed on Feb. 15. Lupercalia celebrated the coming of Spring in the Roman calendar (February was observed later in the year than it is today). Lupercalia was associated with the Roman gods Lupercus and Faunus. Lupercus watched over shepherds and their flocks and the festival of Lupercalia became a celebration intended to ensure the fertility of flocks, fields and people.
The celebration of Lupercalia transformed and spread as the Roman Empire grew. When the Romans conquered France, it was then that the first Valentine-like cards may have been exchanged. Apparently, a container in which women had placed their names (possibly accompanied by love notes) was used in a lottery. Men drawing a women’s name would either seek or were guaranteed that woman’s favors.
Saint Valentine’s Day
The legend of St. Valentine stems from real-life martyrs from the Roman Empire known as Valentines. It is unsure who was the St. Valentine, but there are two possible candidates. One of these Valentines is believed to have been a Roman priest and physician. He was killed in the third century, during the persecutions of the Emperor Claudius II. After his death this Valentine was buried in the Roman road Via Flaminia. Pope Julius I is said to have later built a basilica above his grave. A second Saint Valentine candidate, believed to be a bishop of Teni ( a province in central Italy), was executed in Rome.
These men’s status comes from legends of harboring Christians from persecution, curing the blindness of a cell keeper’s daughter, and conducting marriages while they were forbidden during times of war. It is this, along with the traditions of Lupercalia, that came...