History, meaning and everything you need to know

It is believed that Valentine’s Day originated in ancient Rome, when the Lupercalia festival was celebrated from February 13 to 15.

Light up your memories! Picture: Tech2

The month of romance has arrived. After a week of romantic festivities, the big day will be celebrated on February 14. Valentine’s Day holds great significance for lovers and people express their affection for their partner on this day. While most of us celebrate this day with fancy dinners, flowers and gifts, let’s take a look at the origin of this day.

Story

It is believed that Valentine’s Day originated in ancient Rome, when the Lupercalia festival was celebrated from February 13 to 15. A goat and a dog were sacrificed by the men on these days and the women were whipped with the skins of the sacrificed animals as it was believed it would make them fertile.

During the festival, a matchmaking lottery would also be held. Men would draw names of women from a pot and mate with that woman for the duration of the festival, or even longer.

While the Lupercalia festival was a common ritual, it was in the 3rd century AD that Valentine’s Day received its name. Emperor Claudius II had ordered the execution of Saint Valentine, a priest who helped Christian couples marry. Emperor Claudius II was against the marriage of unmarried men and ordered Saint Valentine to be beheaded. The execution took place on February 14. It is also said that while St. Valentine was imprisoned, he took care of the jailer’s blind daughter and even wrote her a card that said “from your Valentine”.

In the 5th century, Pope Gelasius expelled pagan rituals from the Lupercalia and combined them with Valentine’s Day. With pagan rituals gone, Valentine’s Day celebrations became more romantic. The festival has become a matter of love and intimacy. Popular poets such as Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare also started popularizing this day by writing sweet things about love and passion.

Homemade cards were exchanged as a token of love and appreciation. The tradition made its way into the 19th century and the industrial revolution made it possible to produce many cards for the occasion. Since then, Valentine’s Day has been celebrated in an affectionate way by exchanging cards, gifts and flowers to express love to a loved one.

Meaning and celebrations

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love. People confess their feelings to a lover and tell them how much they are admired. Couples make themselves feel special by showering each other with warmth and affection. Traditional gifts, wishes and red roses are presented to a loved one as a symbol of beauty and love. Modern celebrations also include romantic dates and candlelit dinners.

In many parts of the world, the day is also celebrated by expressing love for friends and family members. Movie nights, cooking meals with friends or hosting a Valentine’s Day party are all important ways to enjoy this day.

Valentine’s Day is popular in the United States as well as other countries like Canada, Australia, and Great Britain. It is also widely celebrated in South Korea, Argentina, the Philippines, France, and Mexico.
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