The Origin of Valentine’s Day, Part 1 of 2

St. Valentine’s Day is one of the many festivals celebrated in countries having western culture. The emphasis may differ from one country to another. As with traditions, there usually are lots of versions that point back to the origin. Here is one of them:

In the lore of the countryside, mid-February is the time when birds choose their mates. In spring ‘a young man’s fancy turns to love’. These two ideas may have been connected in ancient societies which practiced special rites at this time of the year to ensure everything would grow, and that young people would find their marriage partners.

The Romans had a feast to mark the beginning of spring on the fifteenth of February which they call “Lupercalia”. Which is derived from “Luper” (wolf). This was then “the Feast of the Wolf.” The choice was no dobut because a young man chasing a girl was called a wolf, an idea that survives in the English expression ‘a wolf whistle’. Young people would draw lots to choose their partners for the coming year.

The church, as expected, was not so happy with some of these pagan ideas about spring and the debasing of sex that went with it. Of course the church would rather have a celebration of a Christian feast and celebrate the meaning of true love. The theory is the church probably decided to hold their own festival on this the day before Lupercalia. So there comes in the the date of February fourteen being Valentine’s Day.

Why Valentine’s Day? Since the church initiated this feast to bash the feast of Lupercalia, someone must have come up with the suggestion of using the name of a saint who seemed to represent the spirit of true love – St. Valentine, who died on 14 of February.

Read: The Origin of Valentine’s Day, Part 2

The Origin of Valentine’s Day, Part 1 of 2

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