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The History of Valentine’s Day

The History of Valentine’s Day

The most romantic holiday Valentine’s Day is celebrated in most countries of the world on February 14. On this day for more than one and a half thousand years, people confess their love to each other.

It is curious that initially the celebration of the memory of St. Valentine was established as veneration of his martyrdom, without any connection with the patronage of lovers.

Gradually, Valentine’s Day turned from a Catholic holiday into a secular. Many people celebrate this holiday with pleasure, although it is not listed on the calendar among official holidays.

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St valentine day exists more than 15 centuries, but according to the pagan traditions, the holidays of “Love” were popular in ancient times.

Thus, in ancient Rome, every year on February 15 a feast of plenty holidays  were celebrated in honor of the god Faun (Luperk is one of his nicknames), the patron saint of herds and the day before Lupercalia celebrated the feast of the Roman goddess of marriage, motherhood and the women of Juno and the god Pan.

On this day, the girls wrote love letters, which were placed in a huge urn, and then the men pulled notes. Then each man began to care for the girl whose love letter he pulled out.

In ancient Greece, this holiday was called Panurgy. It was ritual games in honor of the god Pan (in Roman mythology – Faun). He was the patron saint of herds, forests, fields, and their fertility. According to mythology, Pan is a merry fellow and a hangman, beautifully playing the flute and always chasing the nymphs with his love.

The word on the street is that this day was additionally called the “Bird Wedding,” as it was trusted that flying creatures frame mating sets in the second seven day stretch of the second month of the year.

Holy person Valentine

There are numerous legends related to the name of St. Valentine. The most wonderful and sentimental of them is the tale of a Christian minister, who delegated the armies of the Roman Empire with their sweethearts in 269, regardless of the boycott of Emperor Claudius II.

To safeguard the military soul, the ruler issued a pronouncement restricting legionnaires to wed, as it was trusted that a married man was thinking about how to feed his family, and not about the welfare of the empire and military prowess.

Saint Valentine sympathized with the lovers and tried to help them in every way. He reconciled the quarreling lovers, composed letters for them with declarations of love, gave flowers to young spouses and secretly crowned the soldiers.

Claudius II, having learned about this, ordered to throw the priest in prison, and soon signed a decree on his execution. A halo of romance is shrouded in the last days of St. Valentine’s life.

According to legend, the blind daughter of the jailer fell in love with him, but Valentine, as a priest who gave a vow of celibacy, could not answer her by mutual feelings. However, on the night before the execution on February 13, he wrote her a touching letter, where he spoke about his love. And the girl, after reading the message after the priest was executed, received his sight.

It is assumed that the tradition of writing Valentine’s Day Love Notes begins from that time.

According to the Catholic Church, St. Valentine healed a blind girl. She was the daughter of a dignitary Asteria, who believed in Christ and was baptized. Claudius ordered the execution of Valentine. That is, Valentine suffered for the faith and therefore was canonized Saints.

There is an assumption that the Church introduced Valentine’s Day in opposition to the favorite pagan holiday of Love, which could not be eradicated with the advent of Christianity.

Around the same time, a legend appears and explains why St. Valentine patronizes lovers.

Anyway, after two hundred years, Valentine has proclaimed the Saints, the patron saint of all lovers.

However, in 1969, as a result of the reform of the divine service, St. Valentine was removed from the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church. The reason for this was the fact that there is no information about this martyr, except for the name and information about truncation with the sword.

Valentine card

The very first Valentine greeting card in the world is considered a note sent by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife from the Tower of London, where he was imprisoned in 1415.

Valentine’s Day activities

In Europe, this holiday is widely celebrated since the thirteen century. In England, wooden “spoons of love” were previously carved and presented to their loved ones. They were decorated with hearts, keys, and keyholes, which symbolized that the path to the heart is open.

Louis XVI is the ancestor of the tradition to give red roses to lovers. He presented such a bouquet to Marie Antoinette. According to legend, Aphrodite stepped on a bush of white roses and stained the roses with her blood, so red roses appeared.

According to the ancient custom, in England and Scotland, on the eve of the holiday dedicated to St. Valentine, young people put tickets in the ballot box with the names of young girls written on them. Then each took out one card.

The girl, whose name was given to the young man, became his “Valentina” for the coming year, and he was her “Valentine.” This meant that for the relationship between young people had to rise, similar to those which, according to the descriptions of medieval romances, arose between the knight and his “lady of the heart.”

According to the belief, in Britain, unmarried girls get up before sunrise on the 14th of February, stand near the window and look at the passing men. The first man they see is the betrothed.

In Italy, February 14 is called the sweet day, and people give sweets to each other. They send Valentines by mail in a pink envelope without a return address. In romantic Denmark, dried white flowers are usually sent to each other. And in Spain, it is considered to send a love message with a carrier pigeon to the height of passion.

In France, on Valentine’s Day, it is customary to give jewelry. And the French also holds various romantic contests. For example, a competition for the longest serenade happens. And it was precisely in France that the first epistle was written.


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