of the Villages

Valentines Day

This is an interesting linguistic decision. Do we write Valentine’s Day – that is the day of somebody called Valentine – or Valentines Day – the day when lots of Valentines are sent? That depends on what you believe, I guess!

Valentines Day, celebrated on February 14th each year, has its origins in both ancient and medieval times. It has evolved over centuries into the widely recognized celebration of love that we know today.

One popular theory is that Valentines Day began in ancient Rome. It probably developed from the mid-February celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. It involved rituals and ceremonies aimed at ensuring health and fertility. During the festival, young men would draw the names of women from a jar. These couples would remain together for the duration of the festival, and, apparently, this would often lead to marriages.

The Christian connection to Valentine’s Day is often attributed to a Roman priest named Valentine. Emperor Claudius II had banned marriages for young men, believing that single men made better soldiers. Valentine defied this decree and continued to perform marriages for young couples in secret. When his actions were discovered, he was arrested and later executed on February 14th. As a martyr, he was made a saint 200 years later.

In the Middle Ages, February 14th was linked to the beginning of the birds’ mating season, adding to the romantic symbolism of the day. Valentines Day became associated with courtship, leading to the production of many romantic poems and other writings. The exchange of love notes and tokens of affection on Valentines Day gained popularity in England during the 17th century. The tradition spread to the American colonies, and by the 19th century, the first mass-produced Valentines Day cards were being produced.