Valentines Day: Its History and Celebrations


Celebrated on February 14 yearly, Saint Valentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day is the traditional day on which lovers convey their love to each other by sending Valentine’s cards, generally even anonymously. The most common feature of Valentines Day today is the mutual change of affection notes within the type of “valentines”. Common Valentine symbols of modern times embody the guts-shaped outline and the figure of the winged Cupid. For the reason that 19th century, mass produced greeting cards have largely changed handwritten notes. It’s believed that almost one billion Valentines Day cards are despatched each year worldwide, making it only the second largest card-sending vacation next to Christmas. Ladies are believed to purchase approximately 85 p.c of all “valentines”.

Tales of many Valentines

Opinions differ about who St Valentine was. Early martyrologies mention at least three St Valentines under the date of 14 February. One is a priest at Rome, one other a Bishop of Interamna (now Terni in Italy) and the other lived and died in Africa. Many, however, are of the opinion that the primary two are the identical person.

It’s, however, widely believed that Valentine’s Day has maybe originated from the traditional Roman feast of Lupercalia. A festival was held on February 15 in honor of considered one of their gods Lupercus, who was called upon by the Romans to ward off the threats of those fierce wolves that roamed the adjacent forests. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia, a love lottery was organized in which the names of Roman girls had been written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Every younger man then drew a slip and the girl whose name he picked up was to be his sweetheart for the year.

The holiday subsequently became Valentine’s Day after a priest named Valentine. At that time when Christianity was still a new religion, Valentine was a priest in Rome. The then Emperor Claudius II, had issued an order forbidding the Roman soldiers to marry or change into engaged. The emperor believed that once they acquired married, his soldiers would wish to stay home rather than battle his wars. Valentine defied the Emperor’s decree and secretly married the younger couples. He was finally arrested, imprisoned, and beheaded on February 14, the eve of Lupercalia. Valentine was posthumously named a saint. As Christianity grew stronger in Rome, the clergymen moved the Lupercalia or spring vacation from February 15 to February 14, i.e., Valentine’s Day. Since then the holiday started honoring Saint Valentine instead of Lupercus.

“From your Valentine”

In accordance with another story, Valentine was one of many early Christians who was seized and dragged earlier than the Prefect of Rome and jailed for helping some Christian martyrs. He cured the jailor’s daughter of blindness while in jail. When the emperor discovered of this miracle he ordered the beheading of Valentine. Valentine is said to have despatched the jailor’s daughter a farewell message signed, “Out of your Valentine”.

In 1969, as part of a bigger effort to reduce the number of saint days of purely legendary origin, the Church removed St. Valentine’s Day as an official vacation from its calendar. At present, February 14 is dedicated only to Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius.

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