February 14th…… as the day comes closer, stores begin to fill with an abundance of roses, chocolates, and teddy bears. Jewelers prepare for massive sales and restaurants plan extravagant menus.
It is often thought that Valentine’s Day was an invention of a brilliant group of marketers wishing to have another day to sell greeting cards and flowers, but this is not true. Valentine’s Day does have historical significance from its beginnings.
There are many reasons that Valentines has come to be. The smallest of which being that in England and France, during the middle ages, it was thought that February 14th was the start of birds mating season.
Another reason Valentine’s day has come to be is the Feast of Lupercalia. In the Roman Empire, people observed Juno; the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses, love and marriage. On February 15th they celebrated in the Festival of Lupercalia. This festival was celebrated by having young boys and girls write their names on slips and drawing them out to be paired together either until the end of the festival or until the next year. Often, this festival resulted in marriage.
Now, for the story we have briefly heard of and may have had the largest significance on this holiday. The festival had been celebrated for a long time in Rome, until it was thought to be unholy and no longer existed. Following this, under the ruling of Claudius II, marriage and engagements were cancelled indefinitely. Claudius did this to create a larger army, as many people did not want to join the risky ranks with wives and families at home.
Saint Valentine, being a strong believer of love, secretly held ceremonies. He created marriages, going against the Roman Empire. It is said that he was in jail and signed his notes to his love “From Your Valentine”. It is also said that Valentine was discovered and killed on February 14th, 270 AD. for his disregard to Roman law. He was declared a Saint following his death. In 489 AD., Pope Gelasius declared the 14th as St. Valentines Day to honor a man who defied all,