Valentine’s Day 2021: Since its origin till today

Valentine’s Day has been celebrated around the world every February 14. Loved ones exchange flowers, candy, greeting cards, and other gifts in the name of St. Valentine to express their love and affection. Who is that mysterious man, and where does this tradition come from? The article will take you back to ancient Rome, to the ritual called Lupercalia.

The legend of St. Valentine

Who was St. Valentine after whom the biggest celebration of love is named? To be honest, no one knows exactly. The Catholic Church recognizes multiple saints named Valentine. According to a legend, during Roman times, an imprisoned man called Valentine fell in love with his jailor’s daughter. Before his death, he wrote a letter signed “From your Valentine” as used nowadays. If it’s true, we’ll probably never find out.

Valentine’s Day celebrations

Nowadays, Valentine’s Day celebrates love and romance. However, the history of roses and cupid’s arrows is a bit darker and bloodier. In ancient Rome, there was a festival called Lupercalia celebrated in the middle of February. The men sacrificed a dog and a goat and whopped the women with the hides and skins. The women believed it would make them fertile. The ritual included a pairing lottery, in which young men drew names of young women from an urn and stayed with that woman for the duration of the festival (or longer, if the match was right). At the end of the 5th century, the festival was replaced with St. Valentine’s Day celebrated on February 14.

Valentine’s greeting cards

The oldest known Valentine’s poem was written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans. He wrote to his wife while being in prison in the Tower of London. The card is now part of the British Library collection in London.

In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland started with the production of premade Valentine’s cards. They became extremely popular. Nowadays, each year around 145 million cards are sent, making it the second-largest card-sending holiday of the year. The largest one is Christmas.

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