Cards, chocolate, flowers and romantic dinners may be part of your plan for this upcoming Sunday. But why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?
The stories of St. Valentine and what he did to be tied to a day of romance is an interesting tale. 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 better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure.
While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
As with most holidays as the world changes so does it’s meaning. So from Priests marrying soldiers behind the king’s back, to pagan holidays, Valentine’s Day has transformed from candy hearts and cards to snap chats and tinder swipes. Whatever your plans are this weekend, be it alone or with the one you love, have a fantastic Sunday and happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at WPJ Heating.
1 HISTORY OF VALENTINE’S DAY Accessed online 12 February 2016 http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day