Monday, February 23, 2009

The Legends of Valentine's Day

There are differently accepted and fascinating legends of St Valentine's Day. Some legends trace the origin of Valentine's Day to pagan times while others link it one or more Saints of early Christian Church. Another view point on the origin of Valentine's Day associates it to the start of birds mating season. Popularity of the festival is perhaps due to the combined effect of all these legends along with the notion that spring is the time for love.

Some legends are as follows:

1.The feast of Lupercalia
Valentine's Day is thought to have evolved from a spring holiday celebrated in the days of ancient Rome. The feast of Lupercalia was actually celebrated on February 15 to honor the god Lupercus, who protected the people and their herds from wolves. On this day, dances were held for all the single young men and women. A man would draw his partner's name from a piece of papyrus placed in a bowl.

The man not only danced with his partner but was also obligated to protect her throughout the New Year, which began in March. In many cases, the partners became sweethearts and were soon married. When the tradition of these dances was later revived in the middle Ages, a man would wear his sweetheart's name on his sleeve.

2.Saint Valentines of Rome-I
Valentine's Day most likely received its name and date from Valentinus, a Roman priest who was beheaded on February 14 in the third century A.D. At that time, Emperor Claudius II banned all weddings and engagements, believing that newly married men made poor Roman soldiers.

Valentinus defied the emperor by performing secret marriages and has since been regarded as the patron saint of all lovers. Many of the rites and practices of the earlier Lupercalia were probably attached to St. Valentine's Day when the church desired to shift the focus from pagan to Christian holidays.

3.Saint Valentines of Rome-II
Another famous legend on Saint Valentine states Valentine was an early Christian in Rome who was very popular amongst children. But during the time when Valentine lived, Roman regime was not in favor of Christianity and it even mistreated Christians to make Rome free of the followers of Christianity. In spite of this strict law, Valentine continued to practice his faith and refused to worship Roman Gods. This enraged Emperor Claudius II and he put Valentine into prison.

Valentine is said to have spent a year in imprisonment during which he was missed a lot by children. They began to toss loving notes and flowers between the bars of his cell window. To an extent, this legend may explain the tradition of exchanging notes and flowers on Valentine's Day.

4.Bird mating time
During the middle Ages, people in England and France held a popular belief that birds started to look for a mate from February 14. This popular notion further strengthened the idea that Valentine's Day festival that falls in the middle of February should be celebrated as the day of love and romance. The concept soon gained ground amongst the lovers and they began to celebrate the day by exchanging love notes and simple gifts like flower.

These are some legends that are associated with Valentine's Day.

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