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what is velentine day?

Valentine's is celebrated on February 14, celebrated in various American and European countries by the exchange of valentines or love tokens.

Roman Roots

The history of Valentine's Day is obscure, and further clouded by various fanciful legends. The holiday's roots are in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15. Pope Gelasius I recast this pagan festival as a Christian feast day circa 496, declaring February 14 to be St. Valentine's Day.

Valentines Galore

Which St. Valentine this early pope intended to honor remains a mystery: according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by that name. One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, and of a third St. Valentine almost nothing is known except that he met his end in Africa. Rather astonishingly, all three Valentines were said to have been martyred on Feb. 14.

Most scholars believe that the St. Valentine of the holiday was a priest who attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II around 270. At this stage, the factual ends and the mythic begins. According to one legend, Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies but was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death. Another legend has it that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed "from your Valentine." Probably the most plausible story surrounding St. Valentine is one not focused on Eros (passionate love) but on agape (Christian love): he was martyred for refusing to renounce his religion.

In 1969, the Catholic Church revised its liturgical calendar, removing the feast days of saints whose historical origins were questionable. St. Valentine was one of the casualties.

Chaucer's Love Birds

It was not until the 14th century that this Christian feast day became definitively associated with love. According to UCLA medieval scholar Henry Ansgar Kelly, author of Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine, it was Chaucer who first linked St. Valentine's Day with romance.

In 1381, Chaucer composed a poem in honor of the engagement between England's Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. As was the poetic tradition, Chaucer associated the occasion with a feast day. In "The Parliament of Fowls," the royal engagement, the mating season of birds, and St. Valentine's Day are linked:

For this was on St. Valentine's Day,

When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.

Tradition of Valentine's Cards

Over the centuries, the holiday evolved, and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine's Day had become common in England. Hand-made valentine cards made of lace, ribbons, and featuring cupids and hearts eventually spread to the American colonies. The tradition of Valentine's cards did not become widespread in the United States, however, until the 1850s, when Esther A. Howland, a Mount Holyoke graduate and native of Worcester, Mass., began mass-producing them. Today, of course, the holiday has become a booming commercial success. According to the Greeting Card Association, 25% of all cards sent each year are valentines.

What is the history behind valentines day?

What is the history behind valentines day?

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14th annually and is associated with lovers, sweethearts or people who have an attraction to another, exchanging cards and/or gifts as a symbol of their affection. However, the history behind this day did not start out as such.

Back in the time of ancient Rome, the 14th of February was seen as holiday to honour Juno, the Queen of Roman Gods and Goddesses. The following day marking what the Romans classed as the Ides of February (mid-February) a feast marked the celebration of heathen Gods in a feast called Lupercalia. It too was classed as a holiday and was a celebration that honoured the founders of Rome, twin brother Romulus and Remus and also the Gods, Luper and Faunus.

Legend has it that Romulus and Remus were supposedly suckled by wolves in a cave on the Palantine Hill in the city of Rome and the cave was called the Lupercal. The hill and cave were used as the centre of the Lupercalia ceremonies and the priests of Lupercus would perform a pagan ceremony at the cave.

The priests would dress in goatskins and sacrifice goats and a dog. They would then smear themselves with sacrificial blood prior to running around the hillside carrying a goatskin thong called a Februa (meaning: means of purification). Women from around the city who wished for fertility and easy childbirth would come and place themselves around the hill so that the priests could hit them with the Februa. It is from Februa that the name of the month of February is derived.

Along with this part of the Lupercalia, the priests would also play ‘cupid' with the young men and women of the city by having the girls write down their names and place them in a box from which the young men would select a name and that woman would then be his partner for either the duration of the feast, for the year or even for life. It must be noted that the lives of young girls and boys in ancient Rome were strictly separate, hence this was a way for them to interact.

Although Lupercalia was celebrated on the 15th which the Romans classed as the middle of the month, realistically the 14th is the middle of February as the month has 28 days apart from during a Leap year.

Another slant on the origins of Valentine's Day stems from the fact that St. Valentine died on February 14th, 269 AD St. Valentine was a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. In 469 AD, Pope Gelasuis set aside February 14th to honour St. Valentine.

St. Valentine lived under the rule of Emperor Claudius II. The Emperor found that his army numbers were lacking due to many Roman men not wanting to leave their wives or families. As a way to thwart this, Claudius ruled that there should be no more marriages and engagements in Rome. St. Valentine used to secretly perform marriage ceremonies and when found out, he was sentenced to death by decapitation.

Over time, this date became synonymous with exchanging love notes and messages and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers.

So, Valentine's Day is not necessarily readily associated with love as can be seen from the pagan rituals that were a part of the feast of Lupercalia. However, the fact that a man died for his beliefs in fanning the flames of love by encouraging people to marry, gives the day a deeper meaning. I, for one, would prefer to remember this day as one on which to reflect on the life of the saint who died for believing that two people who loved each other should be allowed to marry. St. Valentine is most deservedly the patron saint of lovers.

Valentine’s Day Truth???

Valentine's Day Truth???

Valentine's Day is a holiday celebrated on February 14. It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other; sending Valentine's cards, or offering candy. It is very common to present flowers on Valentine's Day. The holiday is named after two among the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

The day is most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines." Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards.[1] The mid-nineteenth century Valentine's Day trade was a harbinger of further commercialized holidays in the United States to follow.[2] The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association estimates that women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.[3]

Contents [hide]

1 History

1.1 February fertility festivals

1.2 Chaucer's love birds

1.3 Medieval and modern times

1.4 The evolving legend

2 Equivalents and in other cultures

2.1 In the West

2.1.1 In the Americas

2.2 In Asia

2.3 In the Islamic world

3 See also

4 References & Notes

5 External Links

History

Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. Until 1969, the Catholic Church formally recognized eleven Valentine's Days. The Valentines honored on February 14 are:

Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae): a priest in Rome who suffered martyrdom about AD 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. His relics are at the Church of Saint Praxed in Rome.[4] and at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.

Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae): He became bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) about AD 197 and is said to have been killed during the persecution of Emperor Aurelian. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location than Valentine of Rome. His relics are at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni (Basilica di San Valentino).

The Catholic Encyclopedia also speaks of a third saint named Valentine who was mentioned in early martyrologies under date of 14 February. He was martyred in Africa with a number of companions, but nothing more is known about him.

Some sources say the Valentine linked to romance is Valentine of Rome, others say Valentine of Terni.[citation needed] Some scholars (such as the Bollandists[citation needed]) have concluded that the two were originally the same person. In any case, no romantic elements are present in the original Early Medieval biographies of either of these martyrs.

An overview of attested traditions relevant to the holiday is presented below, with the legends about Valentine himself discussed in the end.

February fertility festivals

Though popular modern sources link unspecified Graeco-Roman February holidays alleged to be devoted to fertility and love to St Valentine's Day, Professor Jack Oruch of the University of Kansas argued[5] that prior to Chaucer, no links between the Saints named Valentinus and romantic love existed. Thus whether or not in the ancient Athenian calendar, the period between mid-January and mid-February was the month of Gamelion, was dedicated to the sacred marriage of Zeus and Hera is immaterial.

In Ancient Rome, February 15 was Lupercalia, an archaic rite connected to fertility, without overtones of romance. Plutarch wrote:

Lupercalia, of which many write that it was anciently celebrated by shepherds, and has also some connection with the Arcadian Lycaea. At this time many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy.[6]

The word Lupercalia comes from lupus, or wolf, so the holiday may be connected with the legendary wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus. Priests of this cult, luperci would travel to the lupercal, the cave where the she-wolf who reared Romulus and Remus allegedly lived, and sacrifice animals (two goats and a dog). The blood would then be scattered in the streets, to bring fertility and keep the wolves away from the fields. [7] Lupercalia was a festival local to the city of Rome. The more general Festival of Juno Februa, meaning "Juno the purifier "or "the chaste Juno," was celebrated on February 13-14. Pope Gelasius I (492-496) abolished Lupercalia.

Chaucer's love birds

A portrait of English poet Geoffrey Chaucer by Thomas Hoccleve (1412). The earliest known link between Valentine's Day and romance is found in Chaucer's Parliament of FoulesThe first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer:[8]

For this was on seynt Volantynys day

Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese [choose] his make [mate].

This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia[9]. A treaty providing for a marriage was signed on May 2, 1381.[10] (When they were married eight months later, he was 13 or 14. She was 14.)

On the liturgical calendar, May 2 is the saints' day for Valentine of Genoa. This St. Valentine was an early bishop of Genoa who died around AD 307.[11][12] Readers incorrectly assumed that Chaucer was referring to February 14 as Valentine's Day. However, mid-February is an unlikely time for birds to be mating in England.[13]

Chaucer's Parliament of Foules is set in a fictional context of an old tradition, but in fact there was no such tradition before Chaucer. The speculative explanation of sentimental customs, posing as historical fact, had their origins among eighteenth-century antiquaries, notably Alban Butler, the author of Butler's Lives of Saints, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. Most notably, "the idea that Valentin'e Day customed perpetuated those of the Roman Lupercalia has been accepted uncritically and repeated, in various forms, up to the present"[14]

Medieval and modern times

Swedish calendar showing St Valentine's Day, February 14, 1712Using the language of the law courts for the rituals of courtly love, a "High Court of Love" was established in Paris on Valentine's Day in 1400. The court dealt with love contracts, betrayals, and violence against women. Judges were selected by women on the basis of a poetry reading.[15][16]

The earliest surviving valentine is a fifteenth-century rondeau written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his "valentined" wife, which commences.

Je suis desja d'amour tanné

Ma tres doulce Valentinée… (Charles d'Orléans, Rondeau VI, lines 1–2)

At the time, the duke was being held in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt, 1415.[17]

Valentine's Day is mentioned ruefully by Ophelia in Hamlet (1600-01): "Tomorrow is Saint Valentine's Day."

In 1836, relics of St. Valentine of Rome were donated by Pope Gregory XVI to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland. In the 1960s, the church was renovated and relics restored to prominence.[5] In American culture,Saint Valentine's Day was remade in the 1840s; as a writer in GFTraham's American Monthly observed in 1849, "Saint Valentine's Day... is becoming,nay it has become, a national holyday."[18]

In the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints, the feastday of Saint Valentine on 14 February was removed from the General Roman Calendar and relegated to particular (local or even national) calendars for the following reason: "Though the memorial of Saint Valentine is ancient, it is left to particular calendars, since, apart from his name, nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on 14 February."[19] The feast day is still celebrated in Balzan and in Malta where relics of the saint are claimed to be found, and also throughout the world by Traditionalist Catholics who follow the older, pre-Vatican II calendar.

Valentine's Day postcard, circa 1910

Tree decorated for Valentine's DayThe reinvention of Saint Valentine's Day in the 1840s has been traced by Leigh Eric Schmidt.[20] In the United States, the first mass-produced valentines of embossed paper lace were produced and sold shortly after 1847 by Esther Howland (1828-1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts. Her father operated a large book and stationery store, and she took her inspiration from an English valentine she had received. Since 2001, the Greeting Card Association has been giving an annual "Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary."

In the second half of the twentieth century, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manner of gifts in the United States, usually from a man to a woman. Such gifts typically include roses and chocolates. In the 1980s, the diamond industry began to promote Valentine's Day as an occasion for giving jewelry.

The day has come to be associated with a generic platonic greeting of "Happy Valentine's Day." As a joke, Valentine's Day is also referred to as "Singles Awareness Day."

In some North American elementary schools, students are asked to give a Valentine card or small gift to everyone

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