History of Valentine Day and Why We Celebrate Valentine Day
The second month of the year, February is celebrated as a month of love, romance and all of confessions and promises. A special day when lovers express their affection with greetings and gifts is a celebrated as Valentine Day, also called St. Valentine’s Day, on February 14. This day has origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February. The festival, which celebrated the coming of spring, included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day. It came to be celebrated as a day of romance from about the 14th century.
Valentine’s Day is upon us again. It’s a time of candlelit dinners, heart-shaped candy boxes, cards, gifts and (depending on your relationship status) watching old romantic comedies. It’s a great celebration. But where did it come from? And we celebrate it?
We have, time and again, heard the name St. Valentine being uttered before us in this season of love. But just who is this St. Valentine? Why is this month associated with love and romance?
Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. This can be assumpted that the ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love.
The origin of this lovers day goes back as early as 270 A.D and started with the clash between a kindly priest and a mighty ruler. There were several Christian martyrs named Valentine, the day may have taken its name from a priest who was martyred about 270 CE by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus. According to legend, the priest signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and, by some accounts, healed from blindness. Other accounts hold that it was St. Valentine of Terni, a bishop, for whom the holiday was named, though it is possible the two saints were actually one person. Another common legend states that St. Valentine defied the emperor’s orders and secretly married couples to spare the husbands from war. It is for this reason that his feast day is associated with love.
There may be doubts regarding the actual identity of Valentine, but we know that he really existed because archaeologists have recently unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to a Saint Valentine. Today, Valentine’s Day is one of the major holidays in the U.S. and has become a booming commercial success.
Not only in specific countries but worldwide this day is been celebrated, Valentine’s Day came to be seen as the most romantic day of the year. However, the truth is, we don’t know much about St. Valentine.
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Author: Shivangi Rawat