Valentine’s Day – the history & origin of the celebration

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Valentine's

The 14th of February is Valentine’s Day. Candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones across the United States and around the world on Valentine’s Day, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this enigmatic saint, and where did these customs originate? Learn about the origins and history of Valentine’s Day, from the ancient Roman springtime celebration of Lupercalia to Victorian England’s card-giving habits. Its exact origins are still a mystery.

 

The most popular legend is that Saint Valentine was a priest who defied emperors’ commands and secretly married couples to keep their husbands out of battle. For any relationship, February 14th, also known as Valentine’s Day, is the most anticipated day of the year. When love is in the air and all we see is red and white, the colors evoke feelings of affection and love. For the uninformed, the day is named for an unknown saint, while it is thought that it may have originated with multiple people. Its exact origins are still a mystery.

 

The day is commemorated, according to mythology, to commemorate the death anniversary of Saint Valentine, who died in the middle of February in the year 270 AD. Saint Valentine is claimed to have broken emperors’ orders by secretly marrying couples to keep their husbands from going to battle. Emperor Claudius II Gothicus is said to have beheaded him.

 

History and legends around Valentine’s day

Valentine’s Day can be traced back to a Roman fertility celebration known as “Lupercalia.”

The day is also thought to have been observed as part of the Church’s endeavor to give the Lupercalia festival a religious flavor. Faunus, the god of agriculture, as well as Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were honored at the event.

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Men and women were partnered according to a lottery system during the celebrations, and the majority of them subsequently married. Pope Gelasius I chose the Lupercalia festival as the day to commemorate Saint Valentine around the end of the fifth century.

 

Saint Valentine is also said to have wonderfully healed the blind daughter of his executioner.

Another tradition claims that the feast was named after a bishop named Saint Valentine of Terni.

Saint Valentine became renowned as the patron saint of love, despite the fact that most people believe they are the same person.

 

He was also claimed to have worn a ring with the emblem of love Cupid on it, which helped soldiers recognize him. Historians believe that a poem published by middle ages author Geoffrey Chaucer in 1381 is the foundation of the current love celebration.

It links Saint Valentine to the celebration of love, reinforcing popular belief in the festival’s history.

 

According to some historians, Valentine was slain for attempting to assist Christians in escaping the harsh Roman jails, where they were frequently beaten and tormented.

According to mythology, an imprisoned Valentine sent the first “valentine” greeting after falling in love with a young girl who visited him during his confinement—possibly his jailor’s daughter.

He is said to have written her a letter inscribed “From your Valentine” before his death, an idiom that is still used today.

Although the truth underlying the Valentine legends is hazy, all of the stories underscore Valentine’s attractiveness as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, amorous person.

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Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France by the Middle Ages, maybe as a result of his reputation.

Formal notes, or valentines, first emerged in the 1500s, and commercially printed cards were utilized by the late 1700s. In the mid-1800s, the first commercial valentines were printed in the United States.

American valentine's card
Valentine’s Day card used in America in 1908

Cupid, the Roman god of love, is frequently shown on Valentines, along with hearts, which are traditionally the seat of emotion.

Birds became a symbol of the day since it was considered that the avian mating season started in mid-February. Candy and flowers, especially red roses, a symbol of beauty and love, are traditional gifts.

The day is widely observed in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, and it is also observed in Argentina, France, Mexico, and South Korea.

It is the most common wedding anniversary in the Philippines, and large marriages involving hundreds of couples are not uncommon on this day. The occasion has evolved to encompass affectionate exchanges between relatives and friends. On this day, many schoolchildren share valentines with one another.

In Ghana, chocolate bars are used to commemorate the occasion.

 

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