How Did Valentine’s Day Originate?
How Did Valentine’s Day Originate? The origin of Valentine’s Day is shrouded in mystery. The day itself gets its name from a famous saint but there are discrepancies as to which saint it originates from.
The Catholic Church recognises at least three martyred saints with the name Valentine or Valentinus. Allegedly Valentine’s Day is in honour of a priest from the third century called Valentine.
The Emperor Claudius II had forbidden marriage because he thought that married men were bad soldiers but Valentine felt this was unfair so he continued to perform marriages in secret. When the priest’s activities were found out he was put into jail and Claudius sentenced him to death.
Whilst in prison he is said to have fallen in love with the daughter of the jailer and prior to his death he sent her a love letter and signed it “from your Valentine”. Still to this day the phrase continues to be used to show our affections to the one we love.
Another popular belief to the source of Valentine’s Day is that it originated from the fertility festival, Lupercalia. Priests were said to sacrifice a goat and dip the hide into the sacrificial blood and then go through the streets slapping Roman women with it. They thought that this made the women more fertile the following year. Also during this ritual the women would place their names into a box and the single men would pull a name out and then be paired to the lady leading sometimes to marriage. The festival of Lupercalia was stopped at the end of the 5th century as it was not considered to be a Christian event.
In the Middle Ages February 14th was the start of the birds mating season so hence the romantic day was initiated and has continued to this day.