Wondering why it’s time to buy flowers and chocolates? Here’s some history on this holiday dedicated to love (and flowers and chocolates!):
For over 2,000 years people have celebrated Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s day dates back to a pagan festival in ancient Rome. There were three St. Valentines and
not much is known about them but they were all martyred. Around 269 A.D. the last St. Valentine was martyred for secretly marrying couples after the emperor Claudius II had canceled all marriages because he was trying to build an army and did not want men staying home with their lovers.
At this time, paganism had not yet been replaced by Christianity and the Roman god Lupercus was believed to watch over shepherds flocks to protect them from wolves so every Feb. 15 a celebration was held to honor this god. During the celebration the names of young women were put in a box and drawn randomly by young men. The couples then paired off for a year.
In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius changed the date of this celebration to February 14 and named it after St. Valentine in an effort to make pagan practices conform to Christianity.
The young women’s names were replaced with names of saints and the young men were to live the next year as the saint whose name they chose.
By the 14th century, lover’s names were again being used. The Catholic Church tried to re-instate saints names in the 16th century to no avail.
In 1969 the Catholic Church officially dropped St. Valentine’s day as a feast day and it returned to a secular day of celebrating those we love.
-adapted from Curious Events in History written by Michael Powell
So go on and celebrate those you love!