Often touted as the ‘most romantic day of the year’, Valentine’s Day is what I really love about the winters. And I leave no chance to bag the opportunity to show my affection for my guy by cuddling next to him and hugging him every now and then. And while I was sharing my Valentine’s Day plans with my banker friend, he popped up a million dollar question – why 14th February and why not 13th or 15th February for Valentine’s Day?
This actually made me curious about the story behind this day and how did it come to be that it fell on February 14? And hours of Google helped me find out the reasons that even you would want to know.
How did it all begin? History of Valentine’s Day
As per History.com, Valentine’s Day is an old practice believed to have stemmed from a Roman Festival ‘Lupercalia’, which was held on February 15 as a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus (the Roman god of agriculture).
As a part of celebration, the boys would draw names of girls from a box and the pair would be partners during the festival. Most of these matches led to marriage. The festival was outlawed at the end of the 5th century when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St Valentine’s Day.
As per the Catholic Church, there exist at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One idea portrays him as a priest from Rome in the 3rd century. Now, in order to make better soldiers out of single men, Emperor Claudius II banned marriage. When Valentine found this unfair, he secretly arranged marriages for those soldiers. He was jailed once the emperor found out and was later sentenced to death.
Other legends suggest that the saint was killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were beaten and tortured. Yet another idea suggests that when he was sent to prison, he sent a letter to a young girl he had fallen in love with and signed it “From your Valentine”. This is thought to be the first Valentine’s Day greeting ever.
Why is it always celebrated on February 14?
People believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated during mid-February as a remembrance of St Valentine’s death, which is thought to have happened in the middle of the month around 270 AD. Some others maintain that the Christian church decided to place St Valentine’s feast day at this time of the year in an effort to ‘Christianise’ the pagan festival of Lupercalia.
Why are roses associated with Valentine’s Day?
Roses have always been there during Valentine’s Day and have been the symbol of love since the early 1700s when Charles II of Sweden brought the Persian poetical art known as the “language of flowers” to Europe. The red rose was believed to be the flower favored by Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love, and has therefore come to represent that.