The Origin of Valentine’s Day

valentines day postValentine’s Day is a day full of kisses, hugs, flowers, chocolate, and sweethearts. However, the origins of this day are a bit removed from our modern traditions. There are several tales that some people claim are the true origin of this sweet holiday.

One story concerns the ancient Roman festival called “Lupercalia” which was celebrated from February 13 to 15. This festival was celebrated in hopes to redeem past sins and purify new life in the spring. The young people of the time would be paired up by casting lots. Then these couples would send special gifts to one another.

Another legend states that a Catholic priest named Valentine was martyred for performing forbidden weddings. The weddings were banned by the Roman Emperor Claudius because he claimed that unmarried men made better warriors. The priest was supposed to have died on February 14.

Around 496, Pope Gelasius declared Valentine’s Day as an official holiday celebrated in the Catholic Church. Most people believe he was simply trying to “Christianize” the Roman celebration that was still wildly popular in Italy.

Geoffrey Chaucer is known as the first writer to link Valentine’s Day with romantic love in 1382 with the composition of his Parlement of Foules; and in 1601, Shakespeare mentioned Valentine’s Day in his play, Hamlet. From that point forward, Valentine’s Day was considered the holiday for lovers.

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