|original graphic by: FrozenMelody|
Today we celebrate Valentine's Day, a blissful day of love and celebrating those whom we love. Did you know that this holiday actually has Pagan Roots? Did you know we are actually celebrating an ancient Pagan fertility rite?
Lupercalia was an ancient pre-Roman festival that was celebrated from February 13 through February 15th. This festival was a time to purify the city and remove evil spirits to help the city be fertile for the coming spring. The celebration of Februa also known as Februatio, was a spring cleaning festival with earlier roots that was incorporated into the Lupercalia festival. You'll notice the name February came from this name. Februare is a latin word that means purification.
During this festival February 14th was a special day. On this day in Pagan Rome they had a love lottery. Young girls names were written on slips of paper and put into jars or urns to be picked out by the eligible boys. They would then be partnered for the rest of the Lupercalia festival.
In Roman Mythology Lupercus is a God who is sometimes identified with the Roman God, Faunus, who is the Roman equivalent of the Greek God Pan. Lupercus is the God of shepherds. The Lupercalia festival celebrates the founding of his temple on February 15.
Around 500 C.E. Christianity was progressing into Rome and the Pagan festival was seen as Pagan and immoral and outlawed by Pope Gelasius. His way to make the Pagan festival more Christian was instead of having the names of girls put into jars, he would have the names of Saints put into jars. The boys would then draw a name of a Saint, and do their best to be more like that Saint throughout the year.
After doing this, he declared St Valentine to be the Patron Saint of lovers, and declared that his day was to be held every year on February 14. In the conversion to Christianity, they tried to keep as many Pagan holidays and traditions as they could, but they modified them to fit Christianity in an effort to convert all the Pagans and minimize the uproar of the conversion. It is said that he may have been named for a priest who served under Emperor Claudius.
"The legend is that the young priest, Valentine, disobeyed Claudius by performing wedding ceremonies for young men, when the Emperor preferred to see them roped into military service rather than marriage. While imprisoned, Valentine fell in love with a young girl who visited him, perhaps the daughter of the jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter, signed, From your Valentine. No one knows if this story is true, but it certainly makes St. Valentine a romantic and tragic hero." (About.com)
Something to think about Have a Blessed Valentine's Day!
Much Love and Many Blessings