We celebrate with flowers, candy, dinner, and gifts the beheading of the patron saint of love, bee keepers, young people, and happy marriages. The flowers all of a sudden make sense given the bee keeper part of his domain.
I forget how interesting Catholicism can be. According to Catholic Online….
Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith in effectual, commended him to be beaten with clubs, and afterwards, to be beheaded, which was executed on February 14, about the year 270…. To abolish the heathens lewd superstitious custom of boys drawing the names of girls, in honor of their goddess Februata Juno, on the fifteenth of this month, several zealous pastors substituted the names of saints in billets given on this day.
So like positioning Christmas near the Winter Solstice to combat the pagans, Saint Valentine’s Day was used to counter Juno. Of course, how times have changed for writing the names of the opposite sex to be considered lewd.
Naturally, my sister-in-law prefers the Medieval Romantic-esque version the priest Valentine confidentially married couples as the (she says king which Rome did not have in 270AD) emperor had outlawed. The people gave flowers to show their solidarity. “Your Valentine” came from the signature on the love notes he sent his jailer’s daughter. She wonders how anyone can be against this kind of Valentine’s Day. How about this? It was the Medieval equivalent of a romance novel. Fiction. Not truth. It may have a sappy spirit, but I do not go around believing in Artificial Intelligent robots truly exist because I read I, Robot.
UPDATE: The Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day from NPR…
From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.
The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.
The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival – or longer, if the match was right.
The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day.
Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, “It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.”
Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin’s Day. Galatin meant “lover of women.” That was likely confused with St. Valentine’s Day at some point, in part because they sound alike.