Who is Valentine?
The world celebrates Feb. 14 as Valentine’s Day. It is also celebrated as lover’s day by exchanging candies, flowers and gifts between couples in love. It was originated in the 5th century in Rome as a tribute to St. Valentine, a Catholic bishop. The history of Valentine’s Day remains fuzzy and there are different stories about who actually Valentine was.
A group of historians suggest that Valentine was a priest in Rome serving under the reign of Emperor Claudius II during the third century, approximately 270 AD. During this period, the Emperor Claudius II prohibited marriage for young men, saying that the unmarried soldiers are more capable. But Valentine secretly continued to perform marriage ceremonies, but was finally apprehended by the Claude and he ordered to put him to death. So as a regard for him, February 14 is celebrated as Valentine’s Day.
What did the Church curb the celebration of Lupercalia festival?
However, some believe that the Valentine’s Day celebration was an effort made by the Church to prevent the celebration of pagan Lupercalia festival which was held on February 15. The celebration featured a lottery in which every young man will pick out a girl’s name from the jar in random and they would become partners until the festival gets over. Sometimes this pairing lasted for an entire year, and often, they fall in love and marry later.
In order to prevent this erotic festivity, the pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome encouraged the participants to substitute the names of saints. Then, for the next twelve months, the participants were to follow the principles represented by the saint whom they had chosen. Pope Gelasius announced Feb. 14 as Valentine’s Day in the year around 498 AD. The festival of Lupercalia was considered illegal and non-Christian. As a result many of the young Roman men were not too pleased with this new rule.
Thus the early Christians priests tried to modulate the sexual nature of Lupercalia by turning the “festival into a ceremony of love. Instead of the pagan god Lupercus, the Church looked for a saint of love as a substitute. They considered Valentine as an appropriate choice who had been beheaded by Emperor Claudius, in the year 270.
Do you know the story behind the Saint Valentine?
During the reign of Emperor Claudius II, Rome was involved in many bloody and unnecessary battles. At that time Claudius found difficulty in getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He felt that Roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result he banned marriage from his empire. But Valentine secretly continued to perform marriage to young men and women who came to him. When Claudius found out Valentine’s activity, he was imprisoned and sentenced to death for secretly conducting several marriages.
During his days of imprisonment Valentine fell in love with the blind daughter of his jailer. His great love miraculously cured her blindness before his death. Before he was taken to his death, he signed a farewell message to her, “From your Valentine”. The phrase has been used on his day ever since.
Thus the Church has chosen the single Valentine against the pagan goddess Juno. As Valentine was martyred on February 14, the Church could also prevent the celebration of Lupercalia on February 15. Valentine was a pure man in the art of love. To make the Holy saint more attractive for fans, the Church may have overstated his life. The records no longer exist since it happened long ago.