Origio Valentini Diei

Our modern Celebration of Valentine’s Day on February 14 actually came from an ancient holiday called Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a strange holiday, at the least. nDuring this day, young men would beat women with animal hides. Somehow, this was designed to keep away the wolves1. Ok, we all know the Romans were a little different, but how did this Lupercalia evolve into our celebration of Valentine’s day? Well, back in the early days of the Church, there was a belief that birds chose their mates on February 14, which is probably where the love part of Valentine’s Day came into play. 2 The word “valentine” actually comes from the Latin “valens” meaning to be strong. 3

In addition to birds and Romans, there was a Saint directly linked to Valentine’s day, St. Valentine (how convenient). St. Valentine lived around 270 AD, and was a priest in the Catholic Church. According to one story, the Emperor Claudius did not allow young men to marry, since they would make better soldiers while they were single. Valentine supposedly married young men, which would eventually lead to his execution, on the 14th, which also explains the love part of Valentine’s Day. Another story says that Valentine was a priest who had many kids as his friends. He accused of not worshipping Roman gods, and was thrown in jail. His children friends wrote him notes and threw them into his cell, which may explain the card passing tradtition. This tradtition may also have come from an English poet named Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote of passing cards on Valentine’s Day. And yet another story says Valentine gave sight to his jail-keeper’s blind daughter, which explains how he became a saint. 4

Basically, the Roman’s celebration of Lupercalia and the early Christian Church are the two main things that led to the present-day celebration of Valentine’s Day. It is unclear exactly who Saint Valentine was, but somehow, he is linked to our holiday. Once again, Rome has influenced our culture.

1From World Book 1998 –Valentine’s Day History
2From World Book 1998 –Origins of Valentine’s Day
3From my incredible translating program
4 From World Book 1998 –St. Valentine

0 World Book Encyclopedia 1998 Edition
A. Arion’s TransLatina
1 Microsoft Encarta 98’