NEWS ORIGIN WISHES EVERYONE HAPPY VALENTINES DAY
News Origin wishes the whole world True Lovers Happy Valentines Day as it is being known to both kids, youth and adult that every 14th of February each year is a day set aside for this Special Celebration of Love.
History of Valentine’s Day
Every February 14, across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from? Find out about the history of this centuries-old holiday, from ancient Roman rituals to the customs of Victorian England.
The Legend of St. Valentine
The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron 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, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?
The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were 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 be put to death.
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. 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.
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 or lupa. 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: A Day of Romance
Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.
Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.
Typical Valentine’s Day Greetings
In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.
Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.
Valentine’s Day 2017: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Happy Valentine’s Day! The now secular holiday is named after St. Valentine, a martyred Christian saint who became the inspiration for an American holiday dedicated to love. Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is a holiday designated to celebrate love, that love it or hate it, is here to stay.
But how did it come about and when did it become so commercialized?
Beginning as a commemoration for an early Christian martyr, Valentine’s Day has largely become a secular holiday celebrated the world over—even in some Islamic countries—where local customs have adopted celebrating love.
Read on to learn more about Saint Valentine and the modern Valentine’s Day.
1. There Was More Than One ‘Saint Valentine’
“Valentine” was a common name in early Christendom and thus, there was more than one martyr that modern Valentine’s Day can be attributed to.
The two Valentines that are typically identified with February 14 are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni (an area in central Italy.) The Roman one was a priest, the Terni one was a bishop. They were both persecuted by the Emperors at the time and both had terrible deaths that eventually got them elected to sainthood.
Their remains exist in shrines all over Europe, including Italy, England, and Ireland. Saint Valentine’s skull is on display in Rome and is adorned with flowers.
There Are Many Legends About Saint Valentine
As for non-historical stories about Saint Valentine, there are quite a few.
In The Dictionary of Christianity, author J.C. Cooper writes that Saint Valentine was “a priest of Rome who was imprisoned for succouring persecuted Christians.”
The most common folk story about Saint Valentine is that Saint Valentine was persecuted as a Christian. He was brought to Roman Emperor Claudius II, but Valentine impressed Claudius and they ended up having a conversation in which Valentine tried to convert Claudius from paganism to Christianity. Claudius refused and had Valentine executed. But before his execution date, Valentine allegedly healed his jailer Asterius’ blind daughter, giving her back her sight. The jailer then converted to Christianity, along with the rest of his household.
Embellishments to the basic story above are usually added to the narrative of Saint Valentine, with other stories circulating. There really is no historical authenticity to any of them, though.
As for how cupid got pulled into all this, Saint Valentine allegedly wore a purple amethyst ring with cupids around it that was a legal symbol under Roman law that the person wearing it could perform marriage ceremonies. The historicity of Saint Valentine and this Roman custom is also up for debate. But amethyst has since become the birthstone for February.