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Origins and Intro to Valentine's Day

Updated on January 20, 2011

The origins of Valentine's day is Catholic at least in name but it's really of pagan origins. These pagan origins are from Roman and Greece. The main use where this comes from is Roman but there are small Greek connections as well. Valentine's day replaced and was called Lupercalia (Lupercian) Festival in Rome. It was in the mid month of February 13th-15th, February (Februa) meant to ritually cleans, from evil spirits and give fertility. This officially started in year 44 BC by Mark Anthony to give the crown to Julius Caesar. This was held in a cave on Palatine Hill. It was to give thanks to the she-wolf (Lupa) who helped raised the 2 founders and brothers of Rome, Remus and Romulus. Men would sacrifice goats and dogs, all male usually 2 goats & dog, get naked and wear their skins.

The connection leading up to today, "love" and the color red. The color red is associated by the blood spilling from the sacrificed goats and dogs. The priest would have there foreheads wiped with the blood and run around mocking a wolf. The "love" with the red color part is when these priest would go out and whip people, the whip is either wool or thongs (strips) of goat skin partly soaked in milk. Usually it will be young women which these women usually unmarried would line up, getting hit by the whip is suppose to ensure them fertility and less pain in childbirth. The "love" only part is when Rome invaded and took over France and Britain. Names of young women where placed in a box and a soldier or young man would randomly pick out a name. That name of a woman would be his lover for the time of the festival. As we can see Valentine's day had nothing to do with people one knew most of the time. Basically, let's use man point of view, it was for a random woman that a man meets, not a wife or girlfriend or female associate like today.

Saint Valentine comes into play to continue this ritual by replacing with his name. It was a sneaky way because it was seen as pagan and immoral as the Roman empire started to become more Christian. But there is a mystery of who or which Valentine he was. Most will agree that it started with Roman emperor Cluadius, 3rd century AD. Because Rome was at constant war he outlawed marriage and unions of men and women. Reason is that soldiers were needed to fight at any time since they had the draft. married men and young men with girlfriends wouldn't want to go. Plus they may start thinking of other thing than the war, start thinking of their families and so on. What happened is that people started coming to Valentine to secretly by married. He wrote to a jailed mans daughter with the note, "From your Valentine" which is still used today in letters on his day. He went to many places doing to same thing but eventually was caught. He was put to death and is considered to be a martyr. In 496, Pope Gelasius prohibited the pagan festival and used a somewhat related to the story St. Valentine to replace it. Then it was more about the religious life of Valentine and marriage, was place at the date February 14 the suppose date of his death. This style didn't last very long and it slowly returned back to Lupercalia but with a Christian twist to it. It came back in the dark ages up until the 16th century. It was the same random lottery drawing of single men and women but the new rules were that with a man's pick he had to protect, give gifts, wear her name on his sleeve and have similar duties as marriage for a short time. In 1600's-1800's cards were written and mailed. As the Spanish Conquistadors entered Central and South America in 15th & 16th century they brought to Europe a new thing called chocolate. In the mid 1800's europeans found a way to make chocolate edible and the first boxes of Valentine's candy were made, it was heart shaped since it was though the heart was the center for emotion. These are the events that lead to St. Valentine's day of today.


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      erika 6 years ago

      This intro is beautiful. :D