We all know that Valentine’s Day is full of love, flowers, chocolate and sometimes disappointment, but have you ever really thought about why Valentine’s Day is a holiday?
According to history.com there are two main stories about how the holiday of love got its name.
The first begins with St.Valentine who was a priest in Rome a long long time ago… (Like the third century long ago). Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage of young men because he believed they made better soldiers as opposed to married men and men with children.
Now cue St. Valentine to save the day! Valentine married young and in love couples behind Claudius’ back, taking away his prime soldiers. So obviously Claudius wasn’t very happy when he found out about Valentine breaking this new law, so Valentine was sentenced to be put to death.
The second myth is just as heroic, don’t worry. It is said that Valentine was imprisoned himself, but tried to help the other prisoners escape. History.com suggests that the roman prisons were a bad place to be, “they were often beaten and tortured.”
The first Valentine is said to be sent from the prison from Valentine himself. Apparently he was in love, and before he died he wrote the woman a letter and signed it with the nowadays classic, “From your Valentine”.
But why is Valentine’s Day celebrated in February? Some say its to celebrate and honor the death of St. Valentine. The other myth claims that the “St. Valentine’s feast day” was placed in February to “Christianize the pagan celebration of Lupercalia,” according to history.com still.
Now you’re probably saying to yourself, “What the heck is Lupercalia?!” Lupercalia was a fertility festival! (Sorry if you’re a boy and that made your skin crawl a little). During the festival, women would put their names into jars, men would reach in and pull out a name and voila — they would be paired together for the year. During the 5th century Lupercalia was brought to an end because of its “un-Christian” nature.
Then Pope Gelasius decided that February 14 was from then on, St. Valentine’s Day.
Happy St. Valentine’s day to all of the Tartan readers!