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The History of Valentine's Day

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Many people use Valentine’s Day as a time to appreciate their significant others a little more than they do the rest of the year. Most consider it a happy, light holiday in which they get to have fun with showing their affections, since not many people know about the true dark story behind it.

In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius declared February 15th as Christian feast day and declared February 14th to be Valentines Day in honor of the Roman Saint Valentinus. Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February in an attempt to “Christianize” the Pagan holiday Lupercalia, which is also celebrated on February 15th. Dedicated to the Roman god of Agriculture Faunus, Lupercalia was a fertility festival during which Roman priests would sacrifice a goat for fertility, and a dog for purification. They would then dip the goat hides in sacrificial blood, and gently slap women and crop fields with the goat hide. Roman women welcomed this, as it was meant to make them more fertile during the year. That same day, all of the unmarried women living in the city would put their names in an urn, and bachelors would pick a name and be paired with the same women for one year, often leading to marriage.

 

vday heart

Sounds like a decent, loving holiday so far right? However, Valentine’s Day is celebrated to honor the Roman Saint Valentinus. There are a few accounts of who Saint Valentinus was, however most legends say that he was a Roman priest who was jailed for defiance during Roman Emperor Claudius II’s reign.

According to legend, Claudius II caught Valentinus marrying Christian couples in A.D 270, which was illegal under his rule. Emperor Claudius outlawed marriage because he needed young men to go to war, however they did not want to leave their families. Claudius decided to just stop the men from having families by not even letting them get married because according to him, bachelors made for better soldiers. When Valentinus was caught aiding young couples, he was put in jail. While in jail, legend says Valentinus fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. The day before his beheading, Valentine left a note for her signing it “From your Valentine” and was later executed. To many, this note is known as the first valentine to be sent, even if it was under very dark circumstances.

While you celebrate this Valentine’s Day, celebrate Saint Valentine as well. Comments or Thoughts on Valentine’s Day? Leave a comment below letting us know!

 

SOURCES
http://www.infoplease.com/spot/valentinesdayhistory.html

http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/st-valentine-beheaded

 

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