Valentine’s Day, celebrated annually on February 14th, has become synonymous with expressions of love and affection. However, its origin is shrouded in mystery and its evolution is marked by a blend of history, folklore, and cultural customs.
The Origin Of Valentine’s Day
The origins of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to ancient Rome, where mid-February was celebrated as Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the founders of Rome, Romulus, and Remus. During this festival, young men would draw names of women from a jar and pair up with them for the duration of the festival or longer, often leading to marriage.
The Christian church attempted to Christianize the pagan festival by associating it with St. Valentine. The identity of St. Valentine, however, remains murky, with several martyrs named Valentine recognized by the church. One legend suggests that Valentine, a Roman priest, defied Emperor Claudius II’s decree banning marriage for young men, and continued to perform marriages in secret. Another legend speaks of Valentine aiding Christians persecuted under Roman rule.