February 6, 2019

History of Valentine’s: Love goes beyond a single day

— Daphne Woolridge

Many people complain about Valentine’s Day and how it impacts their lives in this monumental way. But does it really? Why do we feel so compelled to participate?

Society forces us to celebrate and embrace holidays. Even individuals who don’t have a religious affiliation will actively participate.

Everyone can find Valentine’s Day marked on their calendars. Businesses market to both single and partnered individuals. We actively indulge in this propaganda.

Our ignorance of the history behind the holiday explains the widespread celebration. Sometimes we end up celebrating the watered-down version of another culture, or a pagan deity.

Some scholars say Valentine’s Day was originally created by the Roman Catholic Church to help christianize a pagan celebration – Lupercalia. Lupercalia was an ancient Roman festival that celebrates the Roman god of fertility.

This celebration was a free pass for debauchery. This included sex lotteries to massive orgies. When did this festival occur? Feb. 15. No wonder why we have so many Geminis in this world.

Where did Valentine’s Day get its name? There was a third century Roman priest who ministered to persecuted Christians. He was born in AD 226 and martyred on Feb. 14 AD 269.  He was named a saint in the fifth century and has been the patron saint of courtly love since the Middle Ages.

Legend says while awaiting his execution Valentine received letters proclaiming love as better than war. Other letters said his message would overcome.

Valentine’s Day, simply put, was a rebranding of a completely pagan holiday. As with some non-biblical customs found in the church and society today, Lupercalia was simply given a Christian-sounding name and adopted into the universal understanding of the world.

With the knowledge that Valentine’s Day is grounded in lust and execution, why do we feel compelled to participate?

We put too much pressure on ourselves as a society to show our undying love on a specific day. Why can’t we love one another every day?

Why can’t we show this love to ourselves? We should take back this holiday with such interesting roots and make it something we can actually celebrate.


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