Saturday, February 14, 2009

St. Valentine

St Valentine's Day was supposedly started in the time of the Roman Empire. In Ancient Rome, the date of February 14 was a holiday to honor the Queen of Roman Goddesses and Gods, Juno. Juno was known as the Goddess of women and marriage. The next day February 15 was the first day of the Festival known as the Feast of Lupercia. 
On February 14 is was said that the young boys and girls of the villages would write down the names of every girl and place these names in a jar of which each young man would have to draw a name of a girl and this particular maiden would be their partner for the duration of the festival. Sometimes these parings would last a year and end up in marriage. 
These rituals under the laws of Claudius were banned as the Emperor believed that the reasons why men would now go to war were because they did not want to leave their lovers or families. As a result all marriages and engagements were canceled as a result Saint Valentine a Roman priest was said to have married these couples in secret and for this he was executed on the 14th day of February. 
While St Valentine was in jail it is said that he fell in love with the jailers daughter. By a miracle or some say by the prayers of Valentine she gained her sight and as a last farewell in a note he was to "From Your Valentine". 
Another stary as to the origins of Valentine's day was that he was a priest who was also a physician and would cure the sick. He was also said to have tried to cure the jailers blind daughter, but, was arrested and on the day of his execution he wrote a note as a final farewell saying "From your Valentine" which some say is what caused her to gain her sight. 
It is also said whilst he was in jail awaiting execution that he was sent little notes and flowers from the children whom he had helped when they were sick. This also may have been one of the reasons why he sent a farewell note to the jailers daughter and why we send valentines. 
St Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14 of each year, the reason why it is celebrated on this day is because this was the day that the Patron Saint of Lovers "St Valentine" was supposedly executed on. On this day lovers all around the world mark this occasion as a day for sending poems, cards, flowers or candy, etc. They might also be a social gathering or ball to mark the occasion. 
Another Interesting origin is that St Valentine was the patron Saint of Epilepsy reason was that he was supposedly a sufferer and took a keen interest in those who suffered from this affliction and also that those who suffered this disease were suffering from Valentine's sickness.
There are various accounts as to whom St Valentine was. It is said that there were two St Valentine's whom died at around the same time and are buried virtually in the same place at the Flaminian Way, both of these saints has been said to be the saint associated with the Patron Saint of Lovers "Saint Valentine". 
The first of the Saints was considered to be a Roman Priest or Bishop of the Christian faith, who was also a physician and practised his trade from his house. He was said to cure the sick of ailments, giving them special medicines or ointments. He was said to have done this out of the goodness of his heart sometimes refusing any payment whatsoever or accepting a loaf of bread or whatever could be spared by the sick. One Day the jailer bought his daughter to see Valentine, so as to see if she could have her sight gained and Valentine was said to have rubbed an ointment on her eyes and told the jailer to bring her back once a week to have the ointment rubbed on her eyes. 
Every night he would pray under the dark of night for the sick to be cured. As a result of his beliefs he was arrested and thrown in jail. The jailer who could not do a thing went to see Valentine moments before he was to be executed at which point Valentine asked for a piece of paper and pen on the piece of paper it is said he was suppose to have written "from your Valentine" and inside the paper also was a blossom of which it is said gave the girl her sight. 
The second of the Saints was said to have been a priest also, but, that he was secretly carrying out marriages of young lovers which under the Emperor Claudius II's laws at the time was forbidden, the reason being that Claudius did not want the men marrying because they must be able to concentrate on war and not their loved one. 
Which ever story is true, today we celebrate St Valentine's day by exchanging gifts such as cards, candy, flowers, etc. The reason why we celebrate it on February 14 is this was the day on which it is said that St Valentine was executed.
There are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine's Day. Some experts state that it originated from St. Valentine, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. He died on February 14, 269 A.D., the same day that had been devoted to love lotteries. Legend also says that St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine". Other aspects of the story say that Saint Valentine served as a priest at the temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Claudius then had Valentine jailed for defying him. In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honor St. Valentine.
Gradually, February 14 became the date for exchanging love messages and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers. The date was marked by sending poems and simple gifts such as flowers and candy. There was often a social gathering or a ball.
In the United States, Miss Esther Howland is given credit for sending the first valentine cards. Commercial valentines were introduced in the 1800's and now the date is very commercialised. The town of Loveland, Colorado, does a large post office business around February 14. The spirit of good continues as valentines are sent out with sentimental verses and children exchange valentine cards at school. 

The History of Saint Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia. 
The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.
Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honor of a heathen god. On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed. 
The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavored to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's Day for the celebration of this new feast. So it seems that the custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons for the coming year, arose in this way. 


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