About Valentine's Day

On February 14th of each year, lovers celebrate their love on Valentine's Day. This is the day that lovers exchange gifts and affection to "prove" their devotion to each other. 

Stores stock candy, stuffed animals and flowers for husbands (the smart ones, anyway) and boyfriends to bring home to their wives and girlfriends. In a twist that I always found interesting, school children purchase packs of cards to pass out in class to all of the other class members.

This holiday originated (most likely) in the early days of Rome. Back in those wild old days, fierce wolves and other animals wandered in the woods near Rome. The Romans asked Lupercus to keep the wolves away from their city. Thus was born the festival of Lupercalia on February 15th. 

An interesting custom was called name drawing. On the eve of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written down and placed into jars. Each single young man drew a slip - the girl whose name was on the slip then became his sweetheart for the rest of the year.

Thus February 15th became known as Cupid's day, the son of Venus who was the Roman goddess of love. Cupid was the mischievous child who shot special arrows into people to make them fall in love. Cupid's origins go much earlier to ancient Greece, where he was named Eros and his mother Aphrodite.

The day is believed to have been named after Bishop Valentine, who was a priest in Rome when that city was ruled by Claudius the Cruel (Claudius II, not the same Claudius featured in I Claudius). Claudius had forbidden Christian conversions and marriages. The Bishop refused to worship the Roman gods and continued his religious duties in secret. He was imprisoned, but even so managed to convert a number of prisoners to Christianity.

While the bishop was imprisoned he befriended the jailer's daughter. Because the bishop would not convert to the Roman deities, he was executed (beheaded). This happened to be February 14th. On that day, he wrote a note to the jailors daughter, signing it "From Your Valentine". Valentine was later declared a Saint to honor his sacrifice.

In AD 496, Pope Gelasius outlawed the Pagan Lupercalia festival. He moved the holiday to February 14th and chose the martyred Valentine as the patron saint. Although the pagan (Roman) celebration faded into obscurity, the people simply transferred many of the icons and figures from it to the new holiday. Thus Valentine's day is a mixture of Pagan and Christian traditions, similar to Christmas and other holidays.

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About Valentine's Day
Where it came from
History of Valentine's Day
Ways to be Romantic
Ten tips for Valentine's Day
Key to Romance
Keep the beauty
Rethinking Romance
Cupid's Arrow
Dose of Romance

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