Why Is Valentine's Day Celebrated?
“For it was not into my ear that you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips that you kissed, but my soul.” – Judy Garland
What comes to your mind first when you hear about Valentine’s Day?
Probably the day for celebrating your love, I guess? Yeah, it is true. Valentine’s Day is observed worldwide as the day to celebrate love and romance.
But, do you ever think about what Valentine’s day means? Or, why is it called so?
Well, these are some mysterious questions that might ignite curiosity in your mind. So, here I am to put some light on that matter.
Why is Valentine’s Day celebrated?
See, Valentine’s Day is also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Valentine’s Day. It is celebrated on 14th February all over the world. But don’t you think, that has something to do with Saint Valentine? You might be curious about why it is named so.
For that, we need to look back to our history. During 300 AD, in ancient Rome, there was this festival called Lupercalia. Now, what is Lupercalia? Lupercalia was basically an ancient pre-Roman pastoral festival, celebrated every year from the 13th to 15th of February, to abolish the evil spirits and cleanse the city.
But, what is the connection between Lupercalia and Valentine’s Day?
It is known that during this festival, men used to whip women with the hides of goats or dogs that they had sacrificed, as a purpose of the festival. And surprisingly, women voluntarily participated in this, to get hit by men. But more surprisingly, it was thought that this act of hitting women by men would make those women fertile. Utterly ridiculous!
Also, as far as the historical reference is concerned, this heinous act included a matchmaking lottery ceremony. In this, men would have to pick up names of women from a jar, with whom they would get coupled up, throughout that so-called “festival” (or longer if the match was right).
Later it came to be known that Pope Gelasius I messed up things in the fifth century by combining St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia.
But it does not end. The history of Valentine’s Day had different shades of red, starting from love to martyrdom. The entire history of Valentine’s Day is known to have been engulfed by a dark past.
There had been some prevalent Roman references that suggest clues about naming this festival in this way. There had been quite a several martyrdom stories, that are associated with Valentine’s Day.
They are as follows:
- It is known that in the third century, Saint Valentine (a roman priest) was imprisoned, for his association with Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. Now, some early traditions suggest that Saint Valentine of Rome (Valentinus press. m. Romae) had healed the eyesight of the jailor’s daughter, Julia. Before getting executed by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus, he signed a letter “ From your Valentine” to the jailor’s daughter, whom he had previously befriended and healed her eyesight. Later, this expression got popular among Valentine’s Day letters, American greetings, and the history channel.
- Then there is this reference of Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae) who also got martyred during the time of persecution. This persecution happened under Emperor Aurelian, which was in AD 273. He was buried at a different location from the Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae).
- There had been traces of reference regarding a thirst Saint, whose name was also Valentine. The Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that he was martyred in Africa, along with a number of his companions, under the date of 14th February. Nothing more came to be known about this.
Thus, Pope Gelasius I in AD 496, established the celebration on February 14th. This was celebrated in honor of Saint Valentine of Rome, who had died in AD 269. Also, there had been confusion among people whether Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were the same person.
There had also been references of a Saint Valentine performing weddings (as he was a priest) for soldiers who were prohibited from marrying. And probably this was one of the reasons for Valentine’s Day being the symbolism of celebration of love and romance.
The Normans also celebrated a day, known as Galatin’s Day, which later got confused with St. Valentine’s Day. It was basically because of the similarity in their names. And because the meaning of Galatin is “ lover of women “, it has some faint connections with Valentine’s Day (as it was thought to be back then).
- Saint Valentine was stated to have been buried in the Church of Praxedes in Rome, which was situated near the cemetery of Saint Hippolytus.
- According to the Order of Carmelites, Julia (the jailor’s daughter) herself planted a pink- blossomed almond tree just near the grave of Saint Valentine. Since then, the almond tree has remained as the symbol of love and friendship.
Valentine’s Day Celebration
Valentine’s Day celebration includes sending greeting cards, presenting red roses and confectionaries to loved ones. This is generally the custom since the 19th century when it had developed in early modern England. Later it had spread to different parts of the world. Different countries have their individual unique tradition of celebrating Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s the sweetness week in Argentina or the cherry blossom tree tradition in the Czech Republic, Valentine’s day celebration has its unique diversity across the world.
Valentine’s Day (Guide to Rose Colors).
- Red - Love, Passion, Respect
- Dark Pink - Gratitude, Appreciation
- Light Pink - Grace, Admiration, Happiness, Friendship
- Coral - Desire
- Purple - Love at first sight, Enchantment, Desire
- White - Purity, Innocence, Young love
- Yellow - Caring, Friendship, Gladness
- Orange - Desire, Fascination, Enthusiasm
- Red & Yellow - Happiness
- Red & White - Unity
So, as you know that Valentine’s Day of 2021 is at your doorstep, the gear up for it.
Hence, no worries!
Note that this year that is in 2021, 14th February (Valentine’s Day) happens to be on Sunday, according to the Calendar. So that’s an added advantage, especially if you are always stuck with works during the weekdays. Do not miss this chance of spending some quality time with your partner this Valentine’s Day.
Also, wishing you a very loving Valentine’s Day in advance! Stay in Love :)