Valentine’s Day & it’s History

When I was in my teen years I used to love Valentine’s Day because it was fun. We used to exchange gifts, buy chocolates or go on dinners. In my opinion it has been commercialized way more over the years. As I grew older I understood this…

Love is love..whether it’s on a holiday or not. Love is shown on a daily basis, small gestures, appreciation towards your loved ones, tell them or show them how much you love them. And there’s other ways to show your love to the person you love.

val·en·tine

(văl′ən-tīn′)n.1. a. A sentimental or humorous greeting card sent to a sweetheart, friend, or family member, for example, on Saint Valentine’s Day. b. A gift sent as a token of love to one’s sweetheart on Saint Valentine’s Day. 2. A person singled out especially as one’s sweetheart on Saint Valentine’s Day.

Photo: Pexels.com

According to an early tradition, Saint Valentine restored sight to the blind daughter of his jailer. Numerous later additions to the legend have better related it to the theme of love: an 18th-century embellishment to the legend claims he wrote the jailer’s daughter a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell before his execution; another addition posits that Saint Valentine performed weddings for Christian soldiers who were forbidden to marry.

The Feast of Saint Valentine was established by Pope Gelasius I in AD 496 to be celebrated on February 14 in honour of Saint Valentine of Rome, who died on that date in AD 269. The day became associated with romantic love in the 14th and 15th centuries when notions of courtly love flourished, apparently by association with the “lovebirds” of early spring. In 18th-century England, it grew into an occasion in which couples expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”).

The other side of Valentine’s Day

Lupercalia, 
Andrea Camassei , 1635 ( 
Museo del Prado )

Lupercalia was an ancient, possibly pre-Romanpastoral annual festival, observed in the city of Rome from the 13th to the 15th of February to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. Lupercalia was also called dies Februatus, after the instruments of purification called februa, which gave February (Februarius) its name. The name Lupercalia was believed in antiquity to evince some connection with the Ancient Greek festival of the Arcadian Lykaia, a wolf festival Latin: lupus.

Location: the rites were confined to the Lupercal cave, the Palatine Hill, and the Forum, all of which were central locations in Rome’s foundation myth. Near the cave stood a sanctuary of Rumina (goddess of breastfeeding).

The Lupercal cave was restored or rebuilt by Augustus = Roman Emperor. The Lupercalia festival is marked on a calendar of 354 alongside traditional and Christian festivals. Despite the banning in 391 of all non-Christian cults and festivals, the Lupercalia was celebrated by the nominally Christian populace on a regular basis into the reign of the emperor Anastasius. Pope Gelasius I (494–96) claimed that only the “vile rabble” were involved in the festival and sought its forceful abolition; the Senate protested that the Lupercalia was essential to Rome’s safety and well-being. 

Sacrifice: at the Lupercal altar, a male goat (or goats) and a dog were sacrificed by one or another of the Luperci, under the supervision of the Flamen dialis, Jupiter’s chief priest. An offering was also made of salted mealcakes, prepared by the Vestal Virgins. After the blood sacrifice, two Luperci approached the altar. Their foreheads were anointed with blood from the sacrificial knife, then wiped clean with wool soaked in milk, after which they were expected to smile and/or laugh.

Celebration

Photo: Pexels.com

In most Latin American countries: Costa Rica, Mexico and Puerto Rico, Saint Valentine’s Day is known as Día de los Enamorados (day of lovers) or as Día del Amor y la Amistad (Day of Love and Friendship). It is also common to see people perform “acts of appreciation” for their friends. In Guatemala it is known as the “Día del Cariño” (Affection Day). Some countries, in particular the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, have a tradition called Amigo secreto = Secret friend.

The Chinese Valentine’s Day is the Qixi Festival, celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar.

Japan the romantic “date night” associated to Valentine’s Day is celebrated on Christmas Eve.

In Ireland many individuals who seek true love make a Christian pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Valentine in Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, which is said to house relics of Saint Valentine of Rome; they at the shrine in hope of finding romance.

Finland Valentine’s Day is called ystävänpäivä which translates into “Friend’s Day”. As the name indicates, this day is more about remembering friends, not significant others. In Estonia, Valentine’s Day is called sõbrapäev, which has the same meaning.

There’s no written evidence linking Valentine’s Day and Lupercalia but reading these two historical events it wouldn’t surprising if they were the same.

I personally don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day for a few years now and honestly it’s an eye opener being able to have your own traditions and stand for what you believe in also I deeply respect those who celebrate this holiday. I would like to know what your observations are regarding Valentine’s Day.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

18 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day & it’s History

  1. Very interesting post, I enjoyed learning about Lupercalia and the possible connection between them two. I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day particularly, but I think it’s a nice tradition 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was really interesting to read. Honestly, I’m not big on Valentine’s Day. We don’t really celebrate in my marriage because we don’t wait for a specific day to show our love. That being said, I do love to see how excited my nieces and nephews get about exchanging valentines and celebrating with their friends.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.