Valentine Week : The History and Importance

It is that time of the year again when people celebrate love all around the world. Planning that perfect date, gifting their lover, popping the question at the right time are some of the ways people express their love to their special one. However, there is more to the dedicated day of love than that meets the eyes. Named after a mysterious saint, the tradition of Valentine’s Day finds its origins in a Roman festival of fertility known as Lupercalia. Every February 14, people across the world exchange candy, flowers and gifts with their loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. It is considered to the best day to express your love and care for your special one or even express your feelings to the one you love. But do they really know the history behind this day? Here is how it started:

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by that name. One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, and the third, St. Valentine which almost nothing is known about, except that he met his end in Africa. Astonishingly, all the three Valentines were said to have been martyred on February 14.

History of Valentine’s Day

It is popularly believed that Valentine’s Day is celebrated to commemorate the death anniversary of Saint Valentine who died in February, way back in 270 AD. At the same time, others believe that the celebrations have its roots in the church’s attempt to ‘Christianise’ the Roman Lupercalia festival celebrations, a festival that is dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, along with the Roman founders of Romulus and Remus. As the story goes, the celebrations included men picking names of women from a box and expressing their love for them during the festival. Sometimes, this would also culminate in marriage. By the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius chose the time of Lupercalia celebrations as the date to commemorate Saint Valentine, thus leading to the association of Valentine’s Day with love and romance.

Importance and Significance of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day celebrates love and companionship. The celebrations start a week before with Rose Day when people express their love by giving roses to each other. It is followed by Propose Day when lovers pop the question. Then comes Chocolate Day followed by Teddy Day when chocolates and teddy bears are exchanged as a symbol of love. The next two days are celebrated as Hug Day and Kiss Day.