Valentine’s Day is a very old festival, of which many traditions are lost but of which there still remain some rituals today, such as the sending of cards or the gift of flowers and chocolates.
Considered as the celebration of couples formed up to the party of those looking for the soulmate, Valentine’s Day is also the feast of friendship in some countries like the United States.
A saint called Valentine…
The life of this saint that is celebrated on February 14 is quite mysterious. Valentin would be a Christian priest, died around 270.
It is said that he was condemned to death by the emperor Claude II for consecrating Christian unions in hiding. The emperor had forbidden these marriages by noting that the Christians, once married, refused to engage in military legions so as not to leave their families. Valentine’s day would be dead in defense of love and marriage.
Since 1496, Valentine’s Day is the Patron Saint of Lovers, by order of Pope Alexander VI. At that time, the protection of this Patron Saint applied especially to single people searching for the soul mate.
The Valentine’s Day festivities were aimed specifically at giving young singles the opportunity to find a partner for life.
Various customs existed in different regions, like the hidden cache in which single women from a village were hiding while single guys set out to locate them.
The couples thus formed could last the time of the evening or go until the union!
Many festivals of the Christian calendar have been based on dates which, in pagan times, were already celebrated by the people.
The goal is to fight these pagan rites while providing meaning to ritual practices linked to the cycle of nature.
Valentine’s Day is one of many examples.
Indeed, by making this saint the protector of couples on February 14, the Church encouraged the celebration of love at the beginning of spring when fighting the pagan festival of Lupercalia that happened at the same time.
This festival, linked to the origins of Rome, was a celebration of purification and fertility, whose most notable ritual was the Luperques race. During this race, men chased the girls and beat them with strips of goat skin.
The thongs received had to guarantee that the women to be fertile and to have a happy pregnancy. When the festival of Lupercalia was prohibited in 494, it was necessary to substitute it by introducing at the same time a feast of purification ( Candlemas ) and a feast of love and fertility (Valentine’s Day).
However, we have not gone without transition out of the goat skin strap into the romantic bouquet! The symbols of Valentine’s Day that we know (cupid, roses, heart…) were mainly imposed in the early twentieth century on pretty colorful cards which enjoyed great popular success.
The illustration of nature…
According to popular belief, the monitoring of nature means the date of February 14 as the ideal day to coo. Indeed, the season of love birds would begin on this date! Then we can hear again the tune of tits, blackbirds, robins and finches that hitherto winter cold silenced.
It would be so by taking example on the birds which the love is of actuality on Valentine’s Day: in mid-February we’re already starting to await the start of the spring and to make plans for the beautiful season. This increase in morale promotes idyls, naturally…