Have you ever thought about how Valentine’s Day came to be? where it originated from? Who started it and when? Interestingly, never in my life have I thought about its history… till now. It is a day to celebrate couples, a day to show feelings of love and affection and a day filled with chocolates and flowers. Beautiful, right?
It’s as if you have two wedding anniversaries each year. To be quite honest, my husband and I are not too concerned about celebrating this day. ONLY because our wedding anniversary is two weeks prior to it, so why not kill two birds with one stone. In saying that, I do remember feeling a little uncomfortable when I visited my brothers on Valentine’s Day a few years ago and their loved ones were showcasing their chocolate hearts and red roses. My husband quickly drove to the nearest petrol station and bought me a “chocolate heart” just to even out the awkwardness. How about that!
Woops, I’m getting sidetracked…
Researching the history behind this celebrated day was enjoyable and quite interesting. I love researching history! It’s one of my mommy habits that keeps me happy. The historical information you gather can be very intriguing, exciting and… sometimes disturbing. The history behind Valentine’s Day is obscure but there is one prominent account that most legends are in accord with. It dates right back to the 3rd Century in ancient Rome when it was ruled by Emperor Cladius II Gothicus. His time as Emperor were spent in many wars and recruiting soldiers. To execute his war plans, he banned young men from getting engaged and married because he believed single men would make better soldiers.
Wow, he needs a slice of humble pie!
But the hope of love and marriage remained in a Christian Priest name Valentine. He defiled the Emperor and secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young couples. He was later found out and was cast into prison to await his execution. While he was in jail, he fell in love with the Jailer’s daughter and on the eve of his execution he wrote a love letter to her and signed “Your Valentine”.
Not quite the ending we wanted…
The actual celebration and date of Valentine’s Day originated from a pagan festival in Rome called Lupercalia which occurred annually on the 15th of February. Each young woman would put their name in a bowl and then the young bachelors would pick a name. The two were paired up for the year which usually ended with marriage.
To remember Saint Valentine… in the 5th Century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as St Valentine’s Day and outlawed Lupercalia. The observance day had a more religious connection. Romance and love was not associated with Valentines Day till the Middle Ages. The idea to connect romance with Valentine’s Day came from the mating period of birds in England and France. The celebration of sending cards, chocolates and flowers became more prominent in England in the 18th Century and later flew it’s way to the US and so forth.
Bizarre but Perfect!
In my opinion, Love, Romance and Valentine’s Day was always connected from the beginning. From the martyred Valentine performing secret marriage ceremonies, to the Pope announcing February 14th as St Valentine’s Day to the Royals in England taking aboard its festivities and now the world commemorating love and romance with cards, chocolate hearts, flowers and gifts. Valentine’s Day is the second most celebrated observance day in the US where millions of cards are sent and flowers being bought. Too bad it’s not an observance day here in New Zealand!
If you want to read or learn more about it go Here.