History of Valentines Day
Valentines Day History
St Valentines Day is celebrated on February 14th. It is a traditional day in many countries when lovers show their love by sending cards and giving gifts of flowers and chocolate.
There are several Christian Marytrs named Valentine who are said to be the source of the name.
This was the first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love and was written to honour the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia.
Valentines themselves are the love notes exchanges - now replaced by greetings cards,
Modern Valentine symbols include both the heart-shaped outline (playing card style rather than anatomical) and the figure of the winged Cupid.
The history of Valentine's Day -- and its patron saint -- is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.
So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
5th Century, Rome
The martyred Bishop Valentine was chosen as the patron saint of the new festival.
Saint Valentine had been beheaded for helping young lovers marry against the wishes of the mad emperor Claudius. Before execution, Valentine himself had fallen in love with his jailer's daughter. He signed his final note to her, "From Your Valentine", a phrase that has lasted through the centuries.
Pope Gelasius didn't get everything he wanted. The pagan festival died
out, it is true, but he had further hoped people would emulate the lives
of saints. Instead they latched onto the more romantic aspect of Saint
Valentines religious life. While not immediately as popular as the more
passionate pagan festival, eventually the concept of celebrating true
love became known as Valentine's Day.
Valentines Day seems to have its origins in the Roman festival Lupercalia, observed on February 15th. Lupercalia celebrated the coming of spring (in the Roman calendar February was observed later in the year than it is today).
Lupercalia seems to have been associated both with the Roman gods Lupercus and Faunus. Lupercus watched over shepherds and their flocks; Faunus (like the Greek god Pan) was a god of flocks and fertility. The day became a celebration intended to ensure the fertility of flocks, fields and people.
On Lupercalia goats and a dogs were sacrificed on Palatine Hill (fabled birth home of Romulus and Remus). Young men known as Luperci would then race the street beneath the hill wielding goat-skin thongs called februa. With these thongs they would lash women gathered in the streets. A februa lashing (a februatio) supposedly ensured fertility and easy child delivery.
As the Roman empire grew, the celebration of Lupercalia was transformed and spread throughout the Roman Empire. During the celebrations of Lupercalia in Roman conquered France, 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 woman's name would either seek (or were guaranteed -- this detail seems obscured by time) a woman's "favors" -- whatever those might be.
Saint Valentine's Day
The legend of these martyrs may have stemmed from real people or from a single person. One of these martyrs is believed to have been a Roman priest and physician who was killed in the 3rd century during the persecutions of the Emperor Claudius II Gothicus (the Groth). After his death this Valentine was apparently buried in the Roman road Via Flaminia. Pope Julius the first is said to have later built a basilica above his grave. A second Saint Valentine candidate is believed to be a bishop of Terni (a province in central Italy) who was executed in Rome.
These men's status comes from legends of harboring Christians from persecution, of curing the blindness of a cell-keeper's daughter, and of conducting marriages while marriages were forbidden during times of war. It is perhaps this last repute and the traditions of Lupercalia that coupled to honor Saint Valentine as the patron saint of lovers.
In 1969 this day of feast was dropped from the Roman Church Calendar.
Eros, Cupid, Amor - Cupid's Arrow
As Cupid this god is often depicted with wings and carrying a bow and quiver of gold typed arrows. Sometimes referred to as the son of Aphrodite, Cupid is said to be mischievous and able to inspire love with a shot of one of his arrows.
Valentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.
The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.
Hundreds of years ago in England, many children dressed up as adults
on Valentine's Day. They went singing from home to home. One verse they
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