A Potted History of Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day, also known as St. Valentine's Day, is when couples show their devotion with greetings and favours. The holiday has its origins in the Lupercalia Roman Festival, celebrated in mid-February. The festival, which celebrated the coming of spring, included rites of fertility and the pairing by lottery of women and men. Pope Gelasius I had replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine's Day at the end of the 5th century. Around the 14th century it came to be celebrated as a romantic day.
Valentine's Day seen as a romantic day for couples
Though there were several Christian martyrs called Valentine, the day may have taken its name from a priest martyred by Emperor Claudius II Gothicus around 270 CE. According to tradition, the priest signed a letter "from your Valentine" to the daughter of his gaoler, whom he had acquainted with and cured of blindness by some accounts. Some sources hold that it was St. Valentine of Terni, a bishop for whom the holiday was named, although the two saints might only have been one person. Another famous legend notes that St. Valentine ignored orders from the emperor and secretly married couples to save the husbands from battle.
In the 1500s formal notes, or valentines, emerged and commercially printed cards were being used by the late 1700s. Valentines commonly portrays Cupid, the Roman god of love, usually as the seat of affection along with hearts. Because the avian mating season was thought to begin in mid-February, birds became a sign of the day too. Traditional gifts include sweets, chocolates and flowers, especially red roses, which are a symbol of beauty and love.
Cupid, the Roman god of love
The day is popular in the United States and Britain, Canada and Australia, and is also observed in other nations, including Argentina, France, Mexico, and South Korea. It's the most famous wedding anniversary in the Philippines and mass marriages of hundreds of couples on that date are not unusual.
So, now you know. Snuggle up with your loved one and enjoy Valentine’s Day today!
The red rose, the symbol of Valentine's Day