When Rome was first founded it was surrounded by a wilderness. Great packs of wolves roamed over the countryside. Among their many gods the Romans had one named Lupercus who watched over the shepherds and their flocks. In his honour they held a great feast in February of each year and called it the Lupercalia. The Lupercalia festival was an echo of the days when Rome consisted of a group of shepherd folk that lived on a hill now known as Palantine. On the calendar used back in those days, February came later than it does today, so Lupercalia was a official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Sweeping out the floor and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors ritually cleansed houses.
Some believe the festival Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus , or Remuswho like the Greek Pan, was a god of herds and crops, but the origin of Lupercalia is so ancient that even scholars of the last century before Christ were never sure.
There is no question about its importance. Records show, for instance, that Mark Antony, an important Roman, was master of the Luperci College of Priests. He chose the Lupercalia festival of the year 44BC as the proper time for offering the crown to Julius Caesar.
Each year, on February 15 to begin the festival, the Luperci priests gathered on the Palantine at the cave of Lupercal. Here, according to legend, Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, had been nursed by a mother wolf. In Latin, the word lupus is the word for wolf.
The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. Luperci (priests of Lupercus) dressed in goatskins and, smeared with the sacrificial blood, would run about striking the women with thongs of goatskin.
Some of the rituals involved youths of noble birth running through the streets with goatskin thongs dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goathide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year , it was believed to make them better able to bear children. The goatskin thongs were known as the februa and the lashing the februatio, both coming from a Latin word meaning to purify. And eventually the name of the month February comes from this meaning.
Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become thus pairing them off until the next Lupercalia. These matches often ended in marriage.
Long after Rome became a walled city and the seat of a powerful empire, the Lupercalia lived on. When Roman armies invaded France and Britain, they took the Lupercalia customs there. One of these is believed to be a lottery where the names of Roman maidens were placed in a box and drawn out by the young men. Each man accepted the girl whose name he drew as his love - for a year or longer.
Looks like later after Christianity was firmly established the priests wanted the people to forget the old heathen gods. But they did not wish to do away with all their feasts and sports. So they kept the Lupercalia and called it Valentine's Day.
There is some reason to believe that the Lupercalia was a forerunner of modern VALENTINE'S DAY TRADITIONS.
This legend says that Valentine's Day started in ancient Rome, on February 14th, a holiday to honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. Then, the following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.
In those days, the lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, on the eve of the festival of Lupercalia, the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.
The other legend, and perhaps the best known, also began in Rome; this was around when the heyday of Roman Empire had almost come to an end. Lack of quality administrators led to frequent civil strife. Learning declined, taxation increased, and trade slumped to a low, precarious level. And the Gauls, Slavs, Huns, Turks and Mongolians from Northern Europe and Asian increased their pressure on the empire's boundaries. The empire was grown too large to be shielded from external aggression and internal chaos with existing forces. Thus more of capable men were required to be recruited as soldiers and officers. So as the result all these rituals of Feast of Lupercalia under the laws of Claudius were banned as the Emperor, Claudius II, was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. "Claudius the Cruel" as he was called, was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that Roman men did not want to leave their loves or families ,he felt that married men were more emotionally attached to their families, and thus, will not make good soldiers.. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young .So he cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome!
Saint Valentine was a priest who served at beautiful temple during the third century in Rome in the year 269 A.D. The Romans loved him dearly and assembled in the temple to hear his words. Before the fire that always burned on the altar they knelt to ask his blessing. Rich and poor, wise and ignorant, old and young, noble and common people they all flocked to Valentine.
Now the good priest Valentine heard of the Emperor's command and was very sad, he seeing the trauma of young lovers, . When a young couple came to the temple, he secretly united them in marriage in front of the sacred altar. Another pair sought his aid and in secret he wedded them. Others came and quietly were married. Valentine was the friend of lovers in every district of Rome.
But, such secrets could not be kept for long in Rome. At last word of Valentine's acts reached the palace and Claudius the Cruel was angry, exceedingly angry. He summoned his soldiers. "Go! Take that priest in the temple! Cast him into a dungeon! No man in Rome, priest or not, shall disobey my commands!"
Valentine was dragged from the temple, away from the altar where a young maiden and a Roman youth stood, ready to be married, and the soldiers took him off to prison. Claudius ordered that he be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off.
Some story says, the emperor, impressed with the young priest's dignity and conviction, attempted, convert him to the roman gods, to save him from certain execution. Valentine refused to recognize Roman Gods and even attempted to convert the emperor, knowing the consequences fully.
On February 24, 270, Valentine was executed.
In deferent interpretation story says what, many asked Claudius to release Valentine but Claudius refused to do so, and in a dungeon Valentine languished and died. His devoted friends buried him in the church of St. Praxedes. When you go to Rome you can see the very place.
It was the year 270BC, on the 14th of February.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.
According other legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, on the 14th day of February, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honor St. Valentine.
This story also has second deferent interpretation:
While Valentine was in prison awaiting his fate, he came in contact with his jailor, Asterius. The jailor had a blind daughter. Asterius requested him to heal his daughter. Through his faith he miraculously restored the sight of Asterius' daughter. Just before his execution, he asked for a pen and paper from his jailor, and signed a farewell message to her "From Your Valentine," a phrase that lived ever after.
Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
Another story tell us, as to the origins of Valentine's Day was that he was a priest who was also a physician and would cure the sick. He was also said to have tried to cure the jailers blind daughter, but, was arrested and on the day of his execution he wrote a note as a final farewell saying "From your Valentine" which some say is what caused her to gain her sight.
It is also said whilst he was in jail awaiting execution that he was sent little notes and flowers from the children whom he had helped when they were sick. This also may have been one of the reasons why he sent a farewell note to the jailer's daughter and why we send valentines.
St Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14 of each year, the reason why it is celebrated on this day is because this was the day that the Patron Saint of Lovers "St Valentine" was supposedly executed on. On this day lovers all around the world mark this occasion as a day for sending poems, cards, flowers or candy, etc. They might also be a social gathering or ball to mark the occasion.
Another Interesting origin is that St Valentine was the patron Saint of Epilepsy reason was that he was supposedly a sufferer and took a keen interest in those who suffered from this affliction and also that those who suffered this disease were suffering from Valentine's sickness.
So at final the Valentine's Day February 14
This story tell, the St. Valentine is believed to have been a Roman priest who was martyred on this day around 270. How he became the patron saint of lovers remains a mystery, but one theory is that the Church used the day of St. Valentine's martyrdom in an attempt to Christianize the old Roman LUPERCALIA, a pagan festival held around the middle of February. Part of the ancient ceremony entailed putting girls' names in a box and letting the boys draw them out. Couples would thus be paired off until the following year. The Church substituted saints' names for girls' names, in the hope that the participant would model his life after the saint whose name he drew. But by the 16th century, it was once again girls' names that ended up in the box. Eventually the custom of sending anonymous cards or messages to those one admired became the accepted way of celebrating St. Valentine's Day.