Do you know why you send valentine cards? Or perhaps you never liked sending them at all.
According to experts, this holiday is actually based on an old Roman festival called Lupercalia. Pope Gelasius I later changed the name of the prestigious event to St. Valentine’s Day.
The Roman festival of Lupercalia was considered the official start of spring. Boys would pull girls' names out of a box, they would become a couple, and sometimes they would marry. It came to include fertility rites as well as the pairing of women and men; however, the women were assigned partners by lottery.
Later, the church wanted to make this festival a Christian celebration to remember the kindly priest, Saint Valentine. They, therefore, combined honoring Valentine and the Roman Lupercalia festival to create St Valentine’s Day. Now it has become a simple day of expressing affection.
Saint Valentine: The Man Of The Month
Saint Valentine was a Roman Catholic priest in the 3rd century. Emperor Claudius II had banned marriages because he thought married men made poor soldiers.
Valentine thought this ruling unfair, so he began to arrange secret marriages. The emperor eventually found out and, unfortunately, jailed St. Valentine. His jailer had a daughter who Valentine fell in love with. On February 14, St. Valentine was, tragically, sentenced to death. That same day he sent a love letter to his beloved, signed “From your Valentine.” The story of St. Valentine continued after his death. The Christian martyr, unsurprisingly, became the patron saint of marriages.
Clearly, Valentine’s Day has a lot more to it than simply sending cards and showing your love. The bittersweet history includes a saint who was put to death for defying an emperor, fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, and created the very first valentine. Remember this devotion the next time you dismiss Valentine’s Day as “unimportant.”