WHAT DOES VALENTINE’S DAY MEAN?

Valentine’s Day is an annual holiday identified around the world. It celebrates romantic love, making it a popular day for couples to spend together. Valentine’s Day is traditionally related to pink hearts, romance, flowers, candy or different sweet things, and the exchange of cards, called valentines, that explicit love.

Valentine’s Day takes place every February 14. Across america and in other places across the world, candy, plant life and presents are exchanged between loved ones, all within the call of St. Valentine. But who's this mysterious saint and where did those traditions come from? Find out approximately the history of Valentine’s Day, from the historic Roman ritual of Lupercalia that welcomed spring to the card-giving customs of Victorian England.

The history of Valentine’s Day–and the tale of its saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, carries vestiges of both Christian and historic Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he emerge as related to this ancient rite?

Who was the Real St. Valentine?

The Valentines's Day gets its name from a famous saint, but there are several stories of who he was.The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom have been martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he thrown in jail and then be put to death. Still others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement.

There, he fell in love with the jailer's daughter and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine”.

Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Having a particular Valentine's Day is a very old tradition, thought to have originated from a Roman festival.

The Romans had a festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February – officially the start of their springtime.

It's thought that as part of the celebrations, boys drew names of girls from a box. They'd be boyfriend and girlfriend during the festival and sometimes they'd get married.

Later on, the church wanted to turn this festival into a Christian celebration and decided to use it to remember St Valentine too.

Gradually, St Valentine's name started to be used by people to express their feelings to those they loved.

One legend contends that Valentine turned into a priest who served at some point of the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II determined that unmarried men made better soldiers than people with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, figuring out the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for younger fans in secret. When Valentine’s actions had been discovered, Claudius ordered that he thrown in prison after which be placed to death. Still others insist that it changed into Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who changed into the actual namesake of the holiday. He, too, changed into beheaded through Claudius II outdoor Rome.

Other tales suggest that Valentine may were killed for trying to help Christians get away harsh Roman prisons, in which they have been frequently overwhelmed and tortured. According to at least one legend, an imprisoned Valentine definitely sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a younger girl–in all likelihood his jailor’s daughter–who visited him at some stage in his confinement.

There, he fell in love with the jailer's daughter and when he became taken to be killed on 14 February he despatched her a love letter signed “out of your Valentine”.

The first Valentine's Day turned into inside the yr 496!

Before his death, it's far alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is nevertheless in use today. Although the truth in the back of the Valentine legends is murky, the testimonies all emphasize his enchantment as a sympathetic, heroic and–maximum importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would turn out to be considered one of the most famous saints in England and France.

Having a specific Valentine's Day is a very antique tradition, thought to have originated from a Roman competition.

The Romans had a pageant known as Lupercalia in the middle of February – officially the begin in their springtime.

It's notion that as a part of the celebrations, boys drew names of girls from a box. They'd be boyfriend and girlfriend at some stage in the pageant and from time to time they had get married.

Later on, the church wanted to turn this competition into a Christian birthday party and decided to apply it to keep in mind St Valentine too.

Gradually, St Valentine's call began to be used by human beings to explicit their emotions to those they loved.

Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

 

Valentine's Day, or St Valentine's Day, is celebrated every year on 14 February.

It's the day when people show their affection for another person or people by sending cards, flowers or chocolates with messages of love.

 

Valentine’s Day, also called St. Valentine’s Dayholiday (February 14) when lovers express their affection with greetings and gifts. The holiday has origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February. The festival, which celebrated the coming of spring, included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day. It came to be celebrated as a day of romance from about the 14th century.

Although there were several Christian martyrs named Valentine, the day may have taken its name from a priest who was martyred about 270 CE by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus. According to legend, the priest signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and, by some accounts, healed from blindness. Other accounts hold that it was St. Valentine of Terni, a bishop, for whom the holiday was named, though it is possible the two saints were actually one person. Another common legend states that St. Valentine defied the emperor’s orders and secretly married couples to spare the husbands from war. It is for this reason that his feast day is associated with love.

Formal messages, or valentines, appeared in the 1500s, and by the late 1700s commercially printed cards were being used. The first commercial valentines in the United States were printed in the mid-1800s. Valentines commonly depict Cupid, the Roman god of love, along with hearts, traditionally the seat of emotion. Because it was thought that the avian mating season begins in mid-February, birds also became a symbol of the day. Traditional gifts include candy and flowers, particularly red roses, a symbol of beauty and love.

As it turns out, nobody really knows the true history behind this storied holiday, nor do any of the theories completely check out. Even historians find themselves arguing over the exact traditions from which the present-day holiday takes inspiration.

But here, we're sharing as much as we know about the topic, including the murky origin of Valentine's Day and its interesting history. Surprisingly, its backstory—though not confirmed—is actually quite dark and even a bit bloody. Strange traditions, pagan rituals, and grisly executions abound. If you're not faint of heart though, you'll enjoy learning about everything we've compiled here. Who knows? It might even inform your Valentine's Day wishes!

WHERE DOES THE WORD VALENTINE COME FROM?

The day is named, of course, for St. Valentine—we all know that by now. But why? Who is this mysterious Valentine?

According to The New York Timesit's possible that the heart-filled holiday is based on a combination of two men. There were, after all, two Valentines executed on February 14 (albeit in different years) by Emperor Claudius II, reports NPRIt's believed that the Catholic Church may have established St. Valentine's Day in order to honor these men, who they believed to be martyrs. What's more, it's possible that one of these men, Saint Valentine of Terni, had been secretly officiating weddings for Roman soldiers against the emperor's wishes, making him, in some eyes, a proponent of love.

But others believe that St. Valentine's Day was actually designated by Pope Gelasius I in order to replace the ancient Roman festival Lupercalia.

The debaucherous feast fell around the same time and involved a pagan ritual of naked men whipping women with the blood-soaked hides of sacrificial animals (yes, really), which they believed promoted fertility. Following this flagellation was an equally strange tradition, in which men selected women's names at random to decide who would remain together the rest of the festival, or, if the match was successful, for life.

WHY DO WE CELEBRATE VALENTINES DAY?

Whether or not Chaucer can be fully credited, it is true that he and fellow writer Shakespeare popularized the amorous associations surrounding the day. Soon, people began penning and exchanging love letters to celebrate Valentine's Day, and by the early 1910s, an American company that would one day become Hallmark began distributing its more official “Valentine's Day cards.” Flowers, candy, jewelry, and more followed, and the rest, of course, is history. Usenet.com is celebrating Valentine's Day with their I Love Usenet Special offers. UsenetServer is offering 65% Off

WHAT PART DOES CUPID PLAY ON VALENTINE'S DAY?

It's not all about St. Valentine! Cupid—that winged baby boy often seen on Valentine's Day cards and paraphernalia—is another symbol of this love-filled holiday, and it's easy to understand why. In Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus, goddess of love and beauty. He was known for shooting arrows at both gods and humans, causing them to fall instantly in love with one another. While it's unclear exactly when Cupid was brought into the Valentine's Day story, it's certainly clear why.

Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate romance and love and kissy-face fealty. But the origins of this festival of candy and cupids are actually dark, bloody — and a bit muddled.

 

A drawing depicts the death of St. Valentine — one of them, anyway. The Romans executed two men by that name on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though no one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday, one good place to start is ancient Rome, where men hit on women by, well, hitting them.

Those Wild And Crazy Romans

From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right.

The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's

Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine's Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, “It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn't stop it from being a day of fertility and love.”

Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin's Day. Galatin meant “lover of women.” That was likely confused with St. Valentine's Day at some point, in part because they sound alike.

 

Be Mine? SweeetHeart Candies aren't hard to find on Valentine's Day
You can't help Say I Love with a Hallmark Valentine's Day Card.

Eventually, the tradition made its way to the New World. The industrial revolution ushered in factory-made cards in the 19th century. And in 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began mass producing valentines. February has not been the same since.

Today, the holiday is big business: Valentine's Day sales reached $17.6 billion last year; this year's sales are expected to total $18.6 billion.