When it comes to romance, no day can symbolize love like Valentine’s Day. Candlelight dinners, chocolates, roses and even love letters all epitomize this tradition. This is the time where couples old and new come together with meaningful ways of expressing themselves.
But where did the holiday come from? The myths are numerous.
One theory says Valentine’s Day can be traced back to as early as the fourth century B.C., according to www.theholidayspot.com. Legend has it that every February the Romans celebrated a feast called Lupercalia in honor of the god Lupercus. During the feast, young men went through a rite of passage. The names of teenage women would be placed in a box, and the men would draw names to pick a companion for the rest of the year.
Another story, based on church tradition, says the origin of Valentine’s Day descended from St. Valentine, a priest near Rome in the year 270 A.D. Valentine was a friend of the people, respected by the old, poor, young and old, according to www.techdirect.com/valentine/origin.html.
Because men did not want to leave their children and wives to fight in foreign lands, Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage. But Valentine disagreed with the edict and secretly performed marriages for the couples. Once the emperor found out marriages were still being conducted he imprisoned Valentine, who remained there until his execution.
While imprisoned, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. Before his execution, he supposedly wrote a farewell letter to the woman signed “From your Valentine.” In 496 A.D, Pope Gelasius designated a day in honor of the man who fought for love.
Eventually, all the tales run together, and it is hard to distinguish which is the real history of Valentine’s Day.