The History Of Valentine Day
The historical past 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 at the moment, accommodates vestiges of each Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he develop into associated with this historic rite?
The Catholic Church acknowledges not less than three totally different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom had been 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 higher troopers than those with wives and households, he outlawed marriage for younger men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to carry out marriages for younger lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions had been discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine could have been killed for attempting to assist Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they have been usually crushed and tortured. In accordance with one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first "valentine" greeting himself after he fell in love with a younger lady--possibly his jailor's daughter--who visited him throughout his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed "From your Valentine," an expression that's still in use today. Although the reality behind the Valentine legends is murky, the tales all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and--most significantly--romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, maybe thanks to this popularity, Valentine would develop into one of the most fashionable saints in England and France.
Origins of Valentine's Day: A Pagan Festival in February
Whereas some believe that Valentine's Day is well known in the course of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial--which probably occurred around A.D. 270--others declare that the Christian church might have decided to put St. Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to "Christianize" the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated on the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, in addition to to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To start the competition, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman monks, would collect at a sacred cave the place the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, have been believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The clergymen would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat's hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping each girls and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman girls welcomed the contact of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile within the coming year. Later within the day, in accordance with legend, all the young ladies in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would each choose a reputation and develop into paired for the 12 months along with his chosen woman. These matches usually led to marriage.
Valentine's Day: A Day of Romance
Lupercalia survived the preliminary rise of Christianity and but was outlawed-because it was deemed “un-Christian”--at the finish of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day. It was not till a lot later, nonetheless, that the day turned definitively related to love. Throughout the Center Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season, which added to the concept that the middle of Valentine's Day ought to be a day for romance.
Valentine greetings have been well-liked as far back as the Center Ages, although written Valentine's did not start to seem until after 1400. The oldest identified valentine still in existence at this time was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his spouse while he was imprisoned within the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now a part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it's believed that King Henry V employed a author named John Lydgate to compose a valentine word to Catherine of Valois.
Typical Valentine's Day Greetings
In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is widely known in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the center of the 18th, it was common for pals and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters as a result of improvements in printing technology. Prepared-made cards were a straightforward means for individuals to precise their feelings in a time when direct expression of one's emotions was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase within the recognition of sending Valentine's Day greetings.
People most likely started exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, often known as the “Mom of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful footage often called "scrap." Today, in keeping with the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day playing cards are sent every year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion playing cards are despatched for Christmas.) Women buy roughly eighty five percent of all valentines.