St Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I thought I’d take the opportunity to write about the many mysteries that surround the man and the holiday. Being rather long I decided to divide it into 4 parts. I hope you enjoy part 1.
I’ve been pretty side-tracked lately, as far as this blog goes. I missed the whole holiday season. That shiny object syndrome gets me every time. First, I wish you a belated Happy New Year!
I confess I have a dual purpose – I want to promote my first product creation too. I’ll tell you about that a bit later.
It’s funny how things change. History bored me as a kid, but I find it intrigues me more and more as I get older.
The First St Valentine’s Day?
According to Italyheritage.com, February 14th, the St Valentine’s Day holiday, replaced the Roman Feast of Lupercalia. Pope Gelasius I dedicated it in 496 A.D. as a Christian holiday to honor Valentino, Bishop of Terni, the martyr.
I’ll have more about the Italian Valentine (Valentino) in tomorrow’s post titled, “The Real Valentine… So Few Facts”.
Was St. Valentine’s Day a Substitute for Lupercalia?
The first record of Lupercalia was in the 4th Century B.C. Romans celebrated from February 13th through the 15th. Referred to as the Feast of Lupercalia, it was their way of celebrating fertility and the coming spring. More of a ritual – Not a feast, in my opinion. I don’t consider their offerings feast worthy. It doesn’t sound like it would have been my kind of fun either!
Here’s the gist of it. The men sacrificed two goats and a dog. The cooked entrails from the goats became the offerings. Was drunkenness a way of washing the taste away? Or did alcohol give them the gumption to eat the not so delectable morsels in the first place?
Doused with blood, from their sacrifices, naked men ran around like bloody fools, (literally) whipping women with strips of hide taken from the goats they had slain.
A Historians Account
According to the historian Noel Lenski of the University of Colorado at Boulder, these Roman romantics were drunk, and they were naked. Believing this would make them fertile, young women would actually line up for the men to whip them.
This “feast” had a lottery. Women, wanting to get pregnant put their names on pieces of clay and place them into a jar. Each man drew a name. The two coupled for the remainder of the festival. If the match was a good one, they stayed together longer, sometimes up to a year.
Here’s an interesting article about the goings-on at the Feast of Lupercalia. You can judge for yourself.
Although illegal, Lupercalia continues throughout the rise of Christianity. It is a very long time before St Valentine’s Day is linked to love.
Did Geoffrey Chaucer, Link St. Valentine’s Day to Love?
Chaucer had quite the habit of making up historical events, from what I understand. In Chaucer’s 1375 poem, Parliament of Foules, the English poet makes reference to February 14th as Seynt Valentyne’s Day; the day birds and humans come together in search of a mate. Many believe his poem was sourced from details of Lupercalia and that he had simply changed the name. He just might have made the link to love.
I don’t call Lupercalia romantic but, many good things have come from the bad.
Others say it was written for Richard II of England and Anne of Bohemia who engaged on May 3rd. Why is this date significant? May 3rd is St. Valentine of Genoa’s day.
The claim is more romantic and more sensible to me, anyway.
Keep an eye out tomorrow for Part 2. It’s titled “The Real Valentine…So Few Facts”. We’ll If you enjoyed today’s post, I know you’ll like the next as well!
My First Creation – A Happy Valentine’s Day Coupon Book. It’s G-Rated and a fun way for couples to strengthen, nurture and celebrate their love.
These are crazy times. The pandemic adds terrible stress on so many relationships. Adding a bit of fun to your ordinary routine might work wonders. Check it out today!