By Dulce Rosas
Although Valentine’s Day has passed and we’ve moved from February to March, I am a firm believer that those small acts of love should not go unnoticed.
Have you ever wondered how Valentine’s day actually started?
Although the exact origin of Valentine’s Day cannot be pinpointed, it is believed to have dark origins. During February 13th to the 15th, Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. This celebration consisted of Roman men slaughtering a goat and a dog, then whipping women with the hides of the animals sacrificed. Romans believed that when a women was hit with these items, that they would become fertile, so often times the women were lined up on purpose to be hit. This wild festival additionally included a matchmaking concept, in which young Romans drew the names of women from a jar to be matched. The matches often just lasted until the end of the celebration, but if the “couple’ were lucky, then it continued much longer.
This strange ritual may be the origin of Valentine’s Day, but other future Roman leaders may have caused it. Emperor Claudius II of Rome killed two men on February 14 and ironically both were named Valentine. The Catholic Church honored their martyrdom with a festivity on February 14th.
Around the 5th century, Pope Gelasius joined both the Lupercalia and Valentine’s Day to “cleanse” the savage ritual of the Romans. At this point Valentine’s Day was more similar to Mardi Gras; it was wild, fun, and crazy. However, this did not stop Christians from trying to reform it towards a more civilized approach. Nonetheless, the day was still about fertility and love.
Gratitude should be given to Shakespeare and Chaucer who romanticized the holiday through their work, which caused the holiday to gain popularity throughout Britain and Europe. It later moved on to the New World with handmade paper cards becoming the tokens of the day.
Soon Valentine’s Day became the holiday we hold dear with the birth of industrialization, which began the tradition of factory made cards.
Valentine’s Day has changed drastically through the years, but the one constant has been giving tokens of love or commemorating love. And here at Foley High School that is exactly what the student body had in mind back in February for Valentine’s day.
If you would like to read more about Valentine’s day, use this link to the information presented above.