Friday, December 14, 2012

Three Key Facts About Valentine’s Day

Enough about Christmas for a minute please; I want to interject with some interesting tidbits right now, a tidbit otherwise known as Valentine’s Day. has been celebrated across much of the western hemisphere for centuries as a day of romantic love.

Interflora has valentines days gifts for her in abundance which goes some way towards showing how entrenched this festival is in our culture. The origins of this day are somewhat vague as there are several theories as to how and why the tradition began.

The Christian version

In the time of the Roman Empire, it is rumoured that Emperor Claudius II decided to outlaw marriage for young men in the belief that this would make them better soldiers. A priest named Valentine carried on secretly performing weddings for young couples in love. When Claudius discovered this, he had Valentine put to death on February 14th.

The Pagan origins

Almost every festival we celebrate today has some link to an earlier pagan ritual and Valentine’s Day is no exception. The Ides of February (the 15th) were associated with fertility and the festival of Lupercalia was held on this day. A blood sacrifice, usually a goat, was performed and the hide used to touch all the women and the crops of the village. It was believed that this ceremony increased fertility for the coming year. After this all the young women would put their names in a hat and the bachelors would draw for a partner for the coming year.

How they come together

Christianity has throughout history systematically adapted many Pagan rituals for themselves. Outlawing the often sexual festivals of Pagans and transforming them into something more palatable to conservative minds has happened more times than can be counted. Lupercalia becomes Valentine’s Day just as Yule becomes Christmas, Samhain becomes Halloween and Beltane becomes the May Day holiday. Over the years the Christians have taken the stories of St Valentine and superimposed them over the Pagan ritual to create a version of the celebration that is more about romantic gestures than young maidens being impregnated!


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