In this post here I said I was going to look into the holiday Valentine’s Day, and I found out a lot.
Before there even was Valentine’s Day, there was a Roman celebration called Lupercalia. It’s one of the oldest celebrations, and not much is clear about it. It was celebrated from February 13th to 15th, or just the 15th depending on who you're talking to. During this celebration, young men and women were paired together, and would stay together until the next year.
Then a man named Valentine came around. He was a romantic man, and he went against the Roman leaders and married soldiers who were forbidden to marry (because it would have been a distraction from their duties and stuff) and for helping Christians who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. He was later imprisoned and it was said that while locked away, Valentine healed the jailer’s daughter, and before he was executed, it was said he wrote her a letter and signed it “Your Valentine.” He was later named a Saint.
Depending on what religion you are, there are actually a few days that are celebrated as “Valentine’s day.” For February 14th the Anglican Communion and the Lutheran Church celebrate it, but the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrate it on July 6th and 30th, different days for different saints. Then in Brazil Valentine’s Day is celebrated on June 12th.
It wasn’t until the 18th century when showing love and affection by gifts was introduced. It was this time where Cupid (who has a cute story coming up) came around and flowers were expected from your lovers. Then in the 19th century the mass production of cards from companies were created and made popular. Then in the 20th century roses and chocolate were brought into the mix, and then the diamond company got in on the money and started promotion special jewelry in the 80s. According to the greeting card administration 1billion cards are sent each year in the U.S. and 15 million e-cards were sent in 2010.
Cupid was the son of Venus, the Goddess of love and beauty. Cupid is known a baby, but really in roman mythology, he was a man who shot people with magical arrows and made them fall in love. Cupid, being around love and humans so much, actually fell in love with a mortal named Psyche. She fell in love right back, and they married. Venus wasn’t too happy about that and she prohibited Psyche to ever look at Cupid. Now, everyone knows that if you like someone it’s extremely hard not to look at them, and she sneaked a peek. When Venus found out she gave Psyche three tasks to complete, the last one ended up ending her life. Cupid brought her back to life, and the other gods were so moved, they granted her immorality. That is why Cupid represents the heart and Psyche represents the struggles of the human soul.
So, before the big companies got involved, Valentine’s Day was a day to celebrate your loved ones with handmade cards, and before that it was a pairing celebration. But, the hype that it has now-a-days, it’s right for me not to really care for it, even if I had a partner I wouldn’t want to celebrate it, maybe if it were still the 18th century, but not now. Of course that is just my opinion.
Happy Valentine’s Day, hope it’s everything you wished for.
Other holiday's I've educated myself on: