Do you already know the origin of Saint Valentine's Day?

By now you probably already know that from Pulse we like to promote culture and share the origin of our most important celebrations, whose origination, on many occasions, is not certain.

Like in almost every story, several versions about the same fact can be found, so we have decided to tell you all of them and then it's up to you to decide which one convinces you the most. 

CHRISTIAN THEORY:

It's a celebration of Christian origin, created as a counterweight to the pagan Roman celebrations of the time, which is annually celebrated on the 14th of February to commemorate the good deeds accomplished by Saint Valentine of Rome, which are related to the universal concept of love and affection.

Let's get to the point: Saint Valentine married soldiers with their partners in the wineries of the Imperium's prisons at a time when Christianism was prohibited by Claudius II.

When he discovered the wedding ceremonies the Saint was performing, he ordered to behead him. While Saint Valentine was waiting in his cell for his execution, he saw that the judge of the prison's daughter was blind. Then, he asked God through his prayers that the child had the joy of vision. During his way to the public square where he was to be executed, Saint Valentine gave a little piece of paper to the girl with a written message. The little girl, not comprehending the reason, for she was blind, opened the piece of paper and, for the first time, was able to see. And the first thing she saw were the two words he had written: "Your Valentine". His goodbye.

 

But this is not the only theory, in fact, the next story tells that the Catholic Church created this myth that, as time has gone by, has grown... Do you want to know the truth? Keep reading a little bit more...

Not even in the modern days the Catholic Church has information about Saint Valentine, nor the character nor any historic facts.

First of all, let's make this clear, nowadays not even the Catholic Church believes to know much about Saint Valentine as a historical figure. Despite the fact that it still exists in the Christian calendar of saint's days, the lack of real data about him forced the removal of the celebration from the liturgical calendar back in 1969. Which means: Saint Valentine's Day is not a Christian celebration anymore, but a social celebration promoted by consumerism (but that's another story).

 

On another note, in the Roman world there was an ancient celebration, previous even to Rome itself, which combined pastoral and purging elements, –both very typical of the month of February, dedicated to the purification of the spirit–. Logically, we are talking about the Lupercalia.

During this celebration, two groups of young men, called Luperci, sacrificed goats and dogs in a ritual. Afterwards, covered only by the skin of the animal victims and armed with whips made of the same material, they ran through the streets of Rome crossing the Via Sacra whipping everybody who got in their way. The crowds that awaited them joyfully received the lashing, which symbolize purification or even fertility for women. 

However, as it can be verified, Lupercalia had nothing to do with love or couples, therefore it can't be considered as the origin of Saint Valentine's Day. 

But then, when did Saint Valentine –whose relics, in the picture above, are kept in the Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin in Rome–,  started being associated with love? Most likely it wasn't until the Middle Ages when both concepts began to be related. In fact, the oldest reference about Saint Valentine can be found in the poem The Parlament of Foules, written between 1381 and 1383 by the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer.

 

As a conclusion, we believe that, in the face of the different stories we have found, in the end the most important thing is to love everyday. It doesn't matter if you love your couple, your parents, brothers, sisters, pets or friends, because, the is no greater joy than having the support and love of your loved ones.

 

Be love. Be Pulse.


Share this post