As you may well know, today marks a date which is famously, or sometimes infamously, known as Valentine’s Day. It is a day in which many people celebrate their love by buying flowers and chocolates, sending gifts and cards to a significant other. Now I know that this day can be the best, or the worst day for some of us.
So I’ve decided to a little research on the history of Valentine’s Day, and I would love to share it with you. Like every other stories, it began once upon a time…
In ancient Rome, around the 15th of February, a pagan festival named ‘Lupercalia’ was celebrated by the romans to pray for fertility. The romans would dedicate the festival to Faunus, the god of agriculture. In this festival, ancient priest would sacrifice a goat and tear the goats hide into strips, and proceed to gently slap the women with the hides. These women would welcome this ritual, as it meant that they would be more fertile in the coming year. Besides that, the women’s names would also be placed in a big urn for the village bachelors to pick them out. A man who choses the name of a woman will be matched together, and the match would often end in marriage.
Talk about a festival huh?
Now at the end of the 5th century, the festival of Lupercalia was outlawed by the Christian Church, and in its place, St. Valentine’s Day was created. A feast created to honour a saint
But who is this St. Valentine? There has been many stories which I’ve read on theories of the real St. Valentine. There were 3 St. Valentine’s christened by the church, but until now, no one knows who the real saint which is celebrated every 14th of February.
There is one particular story of a St. Valentine which is undoubtedly a fan favourite for the feast of St. Valentine’s day. It is my favourtie story too. And this is how it went:
A long time ago on 200AD, there was a roman emperor named Claudias who prohibited marriages among young people. The emperor believed that un-married man would make better soldiers for his army. Now a priest named Valentine believed that marriage was a union, and that everyone deserved a right to be married. So he married young couples in secret.
Sadly this secrecy did not last, and Valentine was captured and sent to prison. He was to be tried by roman law, and among the men who would judge him was a fellow named Asterius. Now Asterius had a blind daughter, which Valentine prayed over her and cured her miraculously.
Valentine and Asterius’ daughter fell in love with each other during the course of his imprisonment, and alas, he was sadly sentenced as guilty and was to be decapitated. In his last letter to Asterius daughter, he signed off with the words ‘from your Valentine’, which became the inspiration for many romantic letters written today.
So what does Valentine’s day mean? Looking at where it all started, it is a celebration of love, and hope. If you look at the case of St. Valentine, it is also a story of bravery, of defeating odds and still coming up strong together with the person you love. At least, that’s what it means to me, but then again, I have been accused of being a hopeless romantic.
Funnily enough, I have never actually celebrated Valentine’s day with a significant other. But I will definitely not discourage it’s celebration out of bitterness. Valentine’s day is a day to appreciate and love everyone that is close to you, and not just a significant other. Love those who love you unconditionally.
There are those who say that love and appreciation should be expressed everyday, so why is Valentine’s day so special? Well it is true. But we humans sometimes need reminders to express our love and appreciation, and having a day as a reminder is always a good thing to me.
So for those of you who choose to celebrate it. I wish you a wonderful time with your loved ones. Lets be mindful today and go back to the origins of the day, rather than focusing on what gifts to get, which restaurant to go to, or when to post pictures of the said gifts/restaurants on Instagram.
Let us get back to basics.
Happy Valentine’s Day dear reader 🙂