How did Valentine’s Day Begin?
Valentine’s Day is approaching. Chocolates. Flowers. Cards – and possibly some other gifts to express our love for those special people in our lives. Perhaps you will spend it with your spouse or partner at a special dinner or a nice getaway together or you two will be home celebrating with your children. After all – aren’t they the ultimate “product” of your love together? However, a parent time-out is good too! Valentine’s Day is seen by some as rather cliché, maybe even not celebrating it at all for those couples – but no matter which way you look at this holiday – it will forever be known as the day of love. Whether you go all out in celebration or not at all, what many don’t realize, is how Valentine’s Day began. The history of this day stretches hundreds of years back – marking February 14th as a significant day in times past and present.
Lupercalia, an ancient Roman festival beginning around the 5th century, holds the roots to this old holiday. This celebration marked the early start to spring and symbolized not just love, but fertility as well. The traditions of this festival were not exactly beautiful, as the priest would sacrifice a goat and go around the village to all of the young women touching them with bloodstained goat’s skin – calling in the spirits of their ancestors to reincarnate and re-birth themselves through these young women. The women then would put their names in an urn and single bachelors of the town would draw a name to begin courting that woman for marriage. Strange? Yes, to us. For them, however, it was completely normal and maybe even a little romantic.
I’ll just stick with the chocolates…
Remembering St. Valentine
Valentine in Latin is Valentinus – which means: worthy, strong or powerful – was a very popular name between the second and eighth centuries. Therefore, there are multiple accounts of a Saint Valentine that can be traced back to this holiday. However, there is one man who really inspired the beginning of Valentine’s Day in the 1400’s and is officially recognized in the Roman Catholic Church and he died around AD 270. The legend has it that Valentine was a Priest who was beheaded by the emperor Claudius II on February 14th, for secretly marrying Christian couples. It was believed then that the Roman soldiers were too distracted by women and marriage and made better soldiers if they didn’t get married – therefore marriage was banned. The emperor wanted a strong army!
Valentine was eventually caught for performing these secret and illegal weddings and while awaiting his execution in jail – it is known that he sent love letters to a young blind girl. This girl was the daughter of one of the men who was told to judge his sentencing and the love he expressed to this girl in many ways healed her! He always signed these letters, “from your Valentine…” Today, many of us sign our Valentine’s Day cards the same way!
While the happenings of this time were not exactly romantic, St. Valentine was later recognized by the Catholic Church as the official Saint Valentine – because he strongly held onto the values of love and marriage after it was banned. This is something the Catholic Church firmly believes in still today and how it marked Valentine’s Day as an official holiday.
Spread Love All Around
When you are signing your cards – remember St. Valentine and his strong stance on keeping real love flowing in a very permissive society. Even if don’t want to celebrate the traditional way – that is okay. Offer time with your loved ones with a warm hug and maybe take turns sharing one thing you love about each other. However, if you are looking for a unique and creative gift – check out our Make Your Own Gift Baskets for Him and Her.
What about yourself? Show yourself love with some self-care. Give your hard-working body a nice steamy bath. Add in some of your favorite oils for extra soothing love! Bundle up and go for a walk in the sunshine, soaking in its rays and taking some deep, restoring breaths. Curl up on the couch with a good book or a movie and just relax – maybe even order some take-out so you don’t have to cook! Loving yourself will only enhance the love that you give to others – all year through.
Lindsay is an author, motivational speaker, birth psychology and maternity health specialist & natural mommy blogger for Our Green House.