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some history about Valentine's Day

Posted by on Jan. 16, 2013 at 10:32 AM
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1 mom liked this

Those Wild and Crazy Romans

From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics "were drunk. They were naked," says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival – or longer, if the match was right.

The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day.

Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine's Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, "It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn't stop it from being a day of fertility and love."

Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin's Day. Galatin meant "lover of women." That was likely confused with St. Valentine's Day at some point, in part because they sound alike.


The Legend of St. Valentine

The history of Valentine's Day--and the story of its patron saint--is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first "valentine" greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl--possibly his jailor's daughter--who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and--most importantly--romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

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by on Jan. 16, 2013 at 10:32 AM
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by on Jan. 16, 2013 at 10:33 AM


by on Jan. 16, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Wow that's fascinating!
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by 80sTardisGirl4Gore on Jan. 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM

it's definitely got a lot of history that most people either dont know about or forgot a long time ago ha :)

Quoting KenzieQsMommy:

Wow that's fascinating!

by on Jan. 17, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Interesting, thnaks for sharing, I love history.

by on Jan. 17, 2013 at 11:27 AM

 Thanks for sharing!

by Beachy on Jan. 17, 2013 at 3:50 PM
Interesting, thanks!
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by Platinum Member on Jan. 18, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Interesting and sad. Thanks for sharing.
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by 80sTardisGirl4Gore on Feb. 14, 2013 at 10:17 AM

bump for V day

by on Feb. 14, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Usually I like the pagan rituals better than the Catholic replacements, but I'll skip Lupercalia.

by on Feb. 14, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Very interesting.  TFS!

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