Pope Gelasius I, celebrated the first Valentine’s Day in 496 AD in honor of early martyrs named Valentine: there were several, each with their own mythology.
Valentine’s Day replaced the Pagan festival of Lupercalia, a spring celebration, on February 15th, that paid homage to Faunus, the Roman God of Agriculture. A dog, the symbol for purity, and a goat, representing fertility, were sacrificed. The goat’s hide was torn into strips, dipped into their blood, and spattered across crops and women.
Later, in the 1400’s, romance was associated with the day. Poems and handwritten letters declaring love became popular. Commercially produced cards appeared in the 1800’s, and gifts of candy and flowers became traditional, especially red roses.
In today’s world, Valentine’s Day is inclusive not only of couples, but also family and friends. Much of this is spurred by companies pushing services and products for profit.
If you currently don’t have a personal “Valentine”, whether by circumstance or choice, do something special for yourself. Prepare a delicious meal, grace your table with your favorite blooms, or buy that book or pistol that’s been on your wish list.
What will you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day? We treated ourselves to lunch at a local pub-ate Rueben sandwiches and fries, bought gasoline (at it’s ever-increasing price, gulp), and ran errands. Whoo-hoo! Romance has a personal definition.