SAINT VALENTINE’S DAY   Leave a comment

 

DEFINITION: Feb. 14, observed in honour of a martyr of the 3d cent. and, coincidentally, as a day for sending valentines to sweethearts, schoolmates.

People once believed that birds, particularly love-birds, began to mate on February 14. In ancient Rome the festival of the Lupercalia was celebrated on February 15; the festival involved fertility rites and honoured the two Roman gods Juno and Pan. In modern times it is customary to exchange cards and other gifts with loved ones, close friends, and family members on February 14. The day is called St. Valentine’s Day. The holiday apparently has no connection with the two martyred St. Valentines of 3rd-century Rome except that their feast days also are celebrated on February 14.

Lupercalia, Roman festival in honour of ancient god Lupercus, protector of flocks against wolves, sometimes identified with Faunus.

The modern celebration of St. Valentine’s Day probably grew out of a tradition that started in about the 14th century. For many years young people in France and England would get together on St. Valentine’s Eve. Each person became the “valentine” of the one whose name was drawn from a valentine box.

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Posted 2012/02/14 by Stelios in Education

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