Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! I trust this year finds you well in peace and still loving each other. February 14, was named Valentine’s day many years ago with its origin being traced back to “Lupercalia”, a Roman festival for fertility. It is believed that the day was celebrated as an attempt by the Church to add a religious twist to the Lupercalia festival.
The festival was dedicated to Faunus, the god of agriculture, and Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. During the celebrations, men and women were paired based on a lottery system, and most of them eventually ended in marriage. At the end of the fifth century, Pope Gelasius I decided the time of Lupercalia celebrations as the date to celebrate Saint Valentine.
So who was Saint Valentine again? Well, the true history is shrouded in mystery. Valentine was a Catholic priest who served during the third century in Rome. The then Emperor Claudius IIhad decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, and went ahead to outlaw marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. He became the patron of love.
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When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Still, others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome. Others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia.
According to History.com, English poet Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to record St. Valentine’s Day as a day of romantic celebration in his 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules,” writing, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day. Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”
By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology.
Today, February 14 is the most awaited day of the year for any couple or lovers. It’s been made an intimate day of expressing love and a special indulgence between partners who seek to increase their love and make more affirmations to their relationship. As you wait to exchange candy, flowers, and gifts, just know Valentine’s is an opportunity to make each other feel special.
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