St. Valentine's Day
It seems like everybody celebrates St. Valentine’s Day. From whence did it come? Like most Christian Holidays, it has pagan roots. In ancient Rome, Lupercalia was celebrated on February 15th, A fertility ritual where nearly naked young men would run through the streets while eligible young woman would cheer them on. It was quite a spectacle and needless to say, very popular. In the 496 CE, the Pope declared February 14th the Feast Day of two Christian Martyrs named Valentinus to compete with the old pagan festival. During the days of the persecutions in the 2nd and 3rd Century, one of the emperors had declared that legionnaires could not marry because married men did not make good soldiers. Young legionnaires and their ladies who wanted to tie the knot would seek out Christian priests to take their vows in secret. You could recognize the priests by their ring which had a small angel called a cherub engraved on it. We still use those little naked angels. In medieval France and England, it was believed that birds mated on February 14th. The love birds. Love sick knights would give their ladies tokens of their love (chocolate.) By the 18th century it was common for friends and lovers to exchange letters and little homemade cards. The invention of the printing press turned that into Hallmark Cards. Happy Valentine’s Day.