Article - Valentine's Day by Robert Wallis
By Robert Wallis
Valentine's Day has a long and rich history, although not always as mushy sentiment. It originated on the Ides of February as a pagan Roman fertility celebration known as Lupercalia. Keep in mind that the Romans , despite being rulers of the known world at the time, knew how to party down. Let's just say that the emphasis was on fertility and making it happen. After a few centuries, the church stepped in and established their own celebration of love in a more sanitized fashion, of course using the same date in order to supplant the old gnarlier traditionally celebrations.
While there are more than one St. Valentine, it is widely conceded that the namesake one is the one who was condemned to death by Emperor Claudius II for performing marriages in secret after the Emperor had forbidden marriages for young Roman men in the belief they would make better soldiers if they didn't have wives. Since he was martyred for performing marriages for young lovers, it was reasonable for him to be the patron saint for love.
The Christian day of recognition for love was chosen for the same day as the old festival, and it wasn't until the 5th century that Pope Gelasius named the name as St. Valentine's day. The 1300's were when the day began to receive widespread recognition as a day for love and romance, along with the common belief that this was when birds began their courtships. By the 1400s, the first Valentine Day greeting cards began to appear. The practice of exchanging cards and letters on Valentine's Day began in England during the 1600's. The first mass-produced Valentine's Day cards started in the 1840's in the United States, where the practices exploded into a wildly popular tradition that continues to this day.
Today, two thirds of the population send cards, give presents of candy (Sweets for the sweet, as it were), and is one of the most popular days to propose. The day is second only to Christmas in the sending of cards. So for you guys who like to be cynical and say it's just a day the card makers use as a sales gimmick, forget about that and buy that card and a box of chocolates or your Significant Other is going to take Cupid's Arrow and shove it where it's going to hurt the most. And don't wait until the last minute where I'm going to see your scruffy butt standing in line alongside me at CVS or Walgreen's with a box of candy, a card, and a worried look on your face 🙂
Happy Valentine's Day!