Tuesday, February 14, 2006

History of Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is generally day of love (although I don't get any love because I'm a geek). But how did this holiday originate? A full article can be found here.

Quick Summary:
  • In ancient Rome, February 14th honored Juno, who was the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses and the goddess of women and marriage.
  • Since this day was the eve of the Feast of Lupercalia, the names of the Roman girls were written on pieces of paper. The boys would the draw the names of the girls and pair with the girls on the day of the feast.
  • A pairing might last a year and lead to a marriage between the pair.
  • Emperor Claudius II cancelled all engagements and marriages during his reign so that the Roman men would feel more inclined to join the military.
  • Valentine secretly married men and women during Claudius's ban.
  • For this deed, Valentine was condemned to be clubbed to death and have his head chopped off.
  • Valentine was martyred on February 14th.
  • Pastors wanted to delete pagan elements from the holiday, so they had people draw the names of saints to be close to during the year instead of the names of girls.

My $0.02: I'm sure that the people at the time weren't nearly as enthusiastic about the holiday when they had to draw the name of a saint. ^_~ However, in a way, we have gone back to the pagan way of celebrating the holiday. Come on, how many people do you know that take a saint as a patron on this day? Rather, it has once again become a holiday of couples.

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