The History of Valentine's Day

| 1/29/2016 10:05:00 AM

Of Mice and Mountain MenValentine's Day approaches and many retail outlets have been decked out with candy, cards and gifts since the day after Christmas. What's all the fuss about? This popular festival of love and romance originates in an ancient Roman festival (not created by card companies as some people believe — although they certainly capitalize on it). There are various legends associated with the festival along with the belief that birds began to mate from this day. The Valentine's Day festival stems from the combined effects of all these legends and the wish to glorify the giddy feeling of love.

Feast of Lupercalia

Historians say that in the Rome of ancient times people observed a holiday on February 14th to honor Juno — the Queen of Roman Gods and Goddesses, and the Goddess of Women and Marriage. On February 15th began the fertility festival called 'Feast of Lupercalia.' The festival was celebrated to honor the Gods Lupercus and Faunus — the Roman God of Agriculture.

It was customary during the Feast of Lupercalia to bring together young boys and girls who were otherwise strictly separated. On the eve of the festival names of young Roman girls were written on a slip of paper and placed into jars. Each young man drew out a girl's name and was paired with her for the duration of Lupercalia. Quite often, the couple would fall in love with each other and later marry. The custom lasted until a growing phenomenon called Christianity decided that mates should be chosen by sight, not luck.

Defiance by Saint Valentine

St. Valentine