History of Valentines Day
History of Valentine's Day festival traces its origin to the custom of celebrating 'Feast of Lupercalia' prevalent in the ancient Roman empire. Some, however, say that popularity of Valentine's Day festival can be attributed to Saint Valentine of Rome. Several historians also claim that the festival of Valentine's Day originated due to the belief of people in the Middle Ages that birds began their mating season from this time. Please read on to understand the fascinating details of Valentines Day history.
Feast of Lupercalia
It is said that people in ancient Roman Empire observed a holiday on February 14th to honor Juno - the Queen of Roman Gods and Goddesses. On the next day, they began their grand fertility festival called the Feast of Lupercalia. During this feast, an interesting custom was followed to bring together young boys and girls. Following the tradition, names of young Roman girls were written on a slip of paper and placed into jars on the eve of the festival. During the feast each young man drew out a girl's name from the jar and was paired with the girl for the duration of Lupercalia. At times the pairing lasted until next year's celebration. Quite often, the couple would fall in love with each other and get married. The custom of celebrating the Feast of Lupercalia lasted for a long time until people felt that it was un-Christian and that mates should be chosen by sight, not luck.
Story of Saint Valentine
Festival of Valentine's Day is said to have got its name and meaning from Saint Valentine - a brave hearted priest who lived in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. It is said that Emperor Claudius constantly engaged Rome in bloody battles. For this, he required constant supply of soldiers. Claudius felt that young men were not willing to join army due to their emotional attachment with families. To get away with this problem, Claudius canceled all marriages and engagements in Rome. St Valentine revolted against this unjustified order of the Emperor by secretly arranging marriages of young boys and girls. When the Emperor discovered his defiance, Valentine was brutally beaten and put to death on February 14, about 270 AD. After his death Valentine was named a Saint. Later Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as Valentine's Day on 498 AD and put an end to pagan celebrations of Feast of Lupercalia. Thus, Saint Valentine's martyrdom day became an occasion to celebrate love.
Birds Mating Season
During the Middle Ages people of England and France in Middle Ages held a popular belief that birds started to look for their mate from February 14. Some historians attribute the popularity of Valentine's Day as a romantic festival to this particular belief.
Popularity of St Valentines Festival
Gradually, popularity of Valentine's Day increased as the festival of love and romance. Celebrating the day young men and women began to exchange love notes called Valentines' and express their love for each other. In present times, Valentine's Day is a hugely popular festival and is celebrated in several countries across the world.