The origin of Valentine’s Day isn’t what you think

Valentine's Day cards helped to popularize the holiday. In 1971, Julie Crouch shops to pick out the perfect sentiment.

This story appeared in The Enquirer on February 14, 2016.

The myth that Valentine’s Day was created by greeting card companies may persist because we don't really have a clear idea of where it did come from.

The origins of Valentine’s Day are rather murky, with few historic facts to support the lore.

The holiday is often traced to the feast of Lupercalia, an ancient Roman fertility festival held annually on February 15, named for the she-wolf, or lupa, who nursed Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

At the feast, priests sacrificed two goats and a dog and then ran around touching women and crops with the bloodstained hides, which was believed to increase fertility.

Now, isn’t that romantic?

All ages get into the spirit of Valentine's Day, which has been a day set aside for romance since poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote of love birds in the 14th century.

About 494 A.D., Pope Gelasius I banned the pagan festival. Many histories of Valentine's Day try to connect Lupercalia with the feast of St. Valentine on February 14.

That is based on an often-repeated claim that Lupercalia included a lottery that paired up young lovers, but there is no evidence of such a lottery, according to Jack B. Oruch in his 1981 essay, “St. Valentine, Chaucer, and Spring in February” in “Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies.”

As for St. Valentine, we don't even really know who he was.

The Roman Martyrology, the official record of Catholic saints, lists several that were named Valentine, two of whom were martyred on February 14, but there are no existing contemporary records of these events.

Source link

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button