Valentine’s day started off as an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia. Lupercalia was celebrated mid-February, usually 13-15th of February. The festival celebrated fertility, love, health, and sex. In the 5th Century, Lupercalia was replaced by the Christian holiday, St. Valentine’s Day, by Pope Gelasius I.
No one is exactly sure why the day is called ‘Valentine’s’, there are many possibilities. One option is a priest put to death by the Roman Emporer, Claudius II Gothicus, making him a Martyr. He apparently wrote a letter to Claudius’ daughter, who had become friends with, signing off as ‘from your valentine’. Another possibility could be from a legend that St. Valentine would marry couples behind the back of the Emporer, thus preventing the husband from heading to war.
Valentine’s day was not celebrated as a day of love until the 14th Century. But, it wasn’t until the 16th Century that messages of love, or ‘valentines’, was really seen. Nearly two centuries later the first commercial Valentine’s day cards were printed. February is considered the time of the year that birds mate with one another, this has led to the association with Valentine’s day, this is why you’ll see birds often printed on cards and other commercial products.
Cupid, the Roman God of love, is commonly used on Valentine’s associated content. Often portrayed as a cherub, a baby with wings basically. Cupid is the son of Venus, the Roman Goddess of love, fertility, beauty, desire, prosperity, and victory.
To this day, Valentine’s day is a big deal. It’s a huge capitalist market. It has positive and negative connotations, depending on your view. Some view Valentine’s day as a pointless day used to make couples think that relationships mean nothing unless you buy things for each other. Others see it as it was originally intended; a day to celebrate love and relationships. I see it as both, really. Society has certainly milked the crap out of the holiday, it’s very materialistic, but I also see it as a day to celebrate the important people in your life. I’ve never had a Valentine, but I’m not too bothered. I am my own Valentine. I am an important person to myself, so I see it as a day to look after myself.
How do you celebrate Valentine’s day?