Thursday, January 19, 2012

Origin of Valentine’s Day

Every year millions of people all over the world celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th.  This date has become known for expressing your love for your significant other, family members, those you wish were your lovers and those who you just want to send some love to.  It is shown that Miss Esther Howland was the first person in the United States to send the first Valentine cards and since then millions of valentine greetings are sent through the mail each and every year.  Valentine’s Day is the day that many people choose to express their true feelings, but are you aware of how it all started.

Valentine’s Day first started during the Roman Empire; in ancient Rome the date of February 14th was a holiday that celebrated Juno.  Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and goddesses.  The Romans also referred to Juno as the Goddess of women and marriage.  

On February 15th the Romans held the Feast of Lupercalia.  On the evening before the feast was held, the young boys and girls would participate in a custom that involved drawing names.  Young men would draw the name of a girl from a jar and they would be partnered until the festival was over, sometimes the pairing would last for a year and often the pair would fall in love and get married.

It was during the rule of Emperor Claudius II that Rome become in many bloody and savage wars.  Claudius II was finding it more difficult to recruit young men in his army; he believed the reason behind the lack of willing participation was due to the fact that the men did not want to leave their families.  He believed that if he cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome he would be able to find willing recruits.  A priest known as Saint Valentine and Saint Marius chose to help the young people who were in love.  

They took it upon themselves to secretly marry couples who could not stay apart.  When Claudius II was informed of these secret marriages he ordered Saint Valentine to be apprehended and dragged him before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death.  This act of violence took place on February 14th.  It was then that the pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome worked to substitute names of saints for the feasts that commonly took place throughout the year.  This is how the Lupercalia feast became known as Saint Valentine’s Day.

The way that Valentine’s Day is celebrated has gone through many changes through the years until it became what we are all familiar with today.  Some people may cringe at the thought of Valentine’s Day while many others see it as an excuse to express their love for someone special in their lives.  Now, the holiday is marked with cards, flowers, romance, and candy and specialty gifts of admiration.  However you may feel about Valentine’s Day, there are many special ways that you can make the day special for that special someone in your life. 

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