Valentine’s Day: The popular festival of love and romance has its origins in the ancient Roman festival and has not been created by card companies, as some people believe it is.
There are several legends associated with the festival along with the belief that the birds began to mate as of this day. The popularity of the Valentine’s Day festival derives from the combined effects of all these legends, beliefs and, of course, the desire to glorify the incomparable feeling of love.
Feast of Lupercalia
Historians trace the origin of Valentine’s Day to the ancient Roman Empire. It is said that in the Rome of ancient times people observed a vacation on February 14 to honor Juno, the Queen of the Gods and Roman Goddesses. The Romans also considered Juno as the Goddess of Women and Marriage. The next day, on February 15, the fertility festival called ‘Fiesta de Lupercalia’ began. The Lupercalia festival was held to honor the gods Lupercus and Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture in addition to the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
An interesting custom was followed at the Feast of Lupercalia to reunite children who were otherwise strictly separated. On the eve of the festival, the names of the young Roman women were written on a piece of paper and placed in jars. Each young man took the name of a girl from the jar and was paired with the girl for the duration of Lupercalia. At some point the match lasted a year until the celebration of the following year. Very often, the couple would fall in love and then get married. The custom lasted a long time until people felt that the custom was not Christian and that couples should be chosen by sight, not by chance.
Challenge for Valentine’s Day
The union of boys and girls created the atmosphere of Valentine’s Day as we know it today. But it was actually due to the efforts and audacity of a Saint Valentine priest that the festival got its name and meaning clearer. The story goes that during the reign of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in several bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudio found it difficult to get soldiers and felt that the reason was that the men did not join the army because they did not want to leave their wives and their families. As a result, Claudius canceled all marriages and engagements in Rome. A romantic priest from the heart of Rome Valentine challenged the unwarranted order of Claudius. Along with Saint Marius, St. Valentine was secretly married. When his challenge was discovered, Valentine was brutally beaten and executed on February 14, around 270 AD. After his death, Valentine was named Saint.
According to another version of the legend, Valentine was killed because he tried to help Christians escape from the Roman prison while being tortured and beaten there. However, another popular version of the legend says that, while in prison, Valentine or Valentinus fell in love with the jailer’s daughter who visited him during confinement. Before his death, Valentine wrote a farewell letter to his girlfriend from jail and signed ‘From your Valentine’. The expression became quite popular with love struck and is still very fashionable.
In the Middle Ages, Valentine assumed the image of heroic and romantic figure among the masses of England and France. Later, when Christianity spread through Rome, the priests moved Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14. Around 498 d. C., Pope Gelasio declared February 14 as Valentine’s Day to honor the martyr Valentino and end the pagan celebration.
Beginning of the season of mating of birds
During the Middle Ages, people in England and France had the belief that the birds began looking for their partner on February 14. This popular idea helped to link Valentine’s Day, celebrated in mid-February, with love and romance. During the period of time, Valentine became the patron saint of lovers and began to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a day of romance by exchanging love notes and simple gifts, such as flowers.
Popularity of St Valentines Day
The Valentine’s Day festival gradually grew in popularity among the masses due to the combined effect of all the reasons mentioned above. To commemorate the day, the lovers began to exchange love notes called ‘Valentines’ with their girlfriends. At first, the tendency was to send handmade cards, but this changed at the beginning of the 19th century and the mass-produced greeting cards caught people. With the passage of time, Valentine’s Day came to be considered as the festival that celebrates love and not just romantic love. Today, Valentine’s Day cards are endowed for teachers, parents, friends, siblings and boyfriends. The popularity of Valentine’s Day has spread in countries on all seven continents and continues to rise every year.