Wednesday, March 22

What is the origin of Valentine’s Day? | Digital Trends Spanish

Valentine’s Day is celebrated every February 14 in many places around the world. On that day, in order to show their love, people exchange greetings, flowers, and gifts, all in the name of Valentine. But where do these traditions come from? Who is the mysterious saint being honored?

The truth is that the history behind the festival and the saint is shrouded in mystery, but is known to contain traces of both Christian tradition and ancient Rome. Here we tell you the origin of Valentine.

Who was Valentine?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.

One legend holds that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. At that time, Emperor Claudius II decided that single men were better soldiers than those with wives and children, so he forbade the marriage of young men.

Valentin, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages among the youth in secret; this was the beginning of his reputation for believing in the importance of love. However, when the priest’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered him to be executed.

On the other hand, there are people who insist that the holiday is due to Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop who was also beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome.

But there are more stories. Others suggest that Valentine may have been killed for trying to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured.

Valentine’s Day Gilardi Photo Library/Getty Images

According to one legend, it was Valentine who actually sent the first “Valentine” greeting while in lockdown. The story goes that he fell in love with a young woman—possibly the daughter of his jailer, who visited him during his confinement—and before his death, he wrote her a letter signed “from your Valentine,” an expression still used today. nowadays. Valentine is said to have been executed on February 14, 270.

Although the truth behind the legends of Valentine is unclear, all the stories emphasize that he was a sympathetic, heroic and, most importantly, romantic figure. In fact, in the Middle Ages, Valentine became one of the most popular saints in England and France, perhaps thanks to this reputation.

What is the origin of Valentine’s Day?

Some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in mid-February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial. But others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place the feast of Saint Valentine in mid-February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercales (or Lupercalia).

Celebrated on the Ides of February (February 15), Lupercales was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.

The Lupercalia party.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather in a sacred cave where the children Romulus and Remus were believed to be cared for by a she-wolf (or “lupa”).

The priests sacrificed a goat for fertility and a dog for purification, then stripped the goat’s skin into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood, and went out into the streets gently slapping both women and fields. cultivation with the skin of the goat. Although, far from being afraid, Roman women welcomed the touch of fur because it was believed that it would make them more fertile in the coming year.

Later that day, according to legend, all the young women of the town would place their names on a large urn. And then each of the town’s bachelors would draw a name and pair up with the woman chosen for the year. These unions often ended in marriages.

The Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity, but by the end of the 5th century — when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as Valentine’s Day — the holiday was banned as it was deemed “un-Christian.” However, it was not until much later that the day was definitively associated with love.

The association of Valentine’s Day with love

During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of the mating season for birds, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for the love.

English poet Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to record Valentine’s Day as a romantic celebration. In his 1375 poem called “Parliament of the Foules,” the poet wrote: “For this was sent on Valentine’s Day / When every bird comes to choose his mate.”

Valentine’s greetings, on the other hand, became popular in the Middle Ages, although writings did not begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known greeting—which still exists and is part of the British Library’s manuscript collection in London, England—was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife. This occurred while the Duke was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.

Additionally, it is believed that several years later King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a Valentine’s note for Catherine of Valois.

Valentine’s card from 1908.

In the mid-18th century, it became common for friends and lovers from all walks of life to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes in Britain, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in technology. of impression.

Pre-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions at a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates have also helped increase the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.

Today, written cards and greetings are not as common as they were then. Now people prefer to have a romantic evening with a dinner or give each other gifts, such as flowers, chocolates or stuffed animals. Either way, the spirit of romanticism has remained.

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