Valentine’s Day – the popular festival of love and romances traces its origin to ancient Roman festival and has not been created by card companies as some people believe it to be.
There are various legends associated with the festival along with the belief that birds began to mate from this day.
Popularity of the Valentine’s Day festival stems from the combined effects of all these legends, beliefs and of course the wish to glorify the unparalleled feeling of love.
Feast of Lupercalia
Historians trace the origin of Valentine’s Day to ancient Roman Empire. It is said that in the Rome of ancient times people observed a holiday on February 14th to honor Juno – the Queen of Roman Gods and Goddesses.The Romans also regarded Juno as the Goddess of Women and Marriage. On the following day, February 15th began the fertility festival called ‘Feast of Lupercalia’.
The festival of Lupercalia was celebrated to honor the Gods Lupercus and Faunus – the Roman God of Agriculture besides the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
An interesting custom was followed in the Feast of Lupercalia to bring together young boys and girls who otherwise were strictly separated.
On the eve of the festival names of young Roman girls were written on a slip of paper and placed into jars.
Each young man drew out a girl’s name from the jar and was paired with the girl for the duration of Lupercalia. Sometime pairing lasted for a year until next year’s celebration.
Quite often, the couple would fall in love with each other and later marry.
The custom lasted for a long time until people felt that the custom was un-Christian and that mates should be chosen by sight, not luck.
In the course of time, Valentine’s day came to be regarded as the festival that celebrates love and not just romantic love. Today, Valentine’s Day cards are gifted to teachers, parents, friends, siblings and sweethearts.
Popularity of Valentine’s Day has spread in countries across the seven continents and is still increasing by the year.