There are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine's Day, but some experts state that it originated from St. Valentine, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity and who died on February 14, 269 AD. Legend also says that Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine.”
The date of his death was just one day before a traditional Roman spring holiday called the feast of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on February 15 to honor the god Lupercus, who protected the people and their herds from wolves.
For some reason, known only to ancient Romans who seemed to use almost any excuse to party, dances were held for all the single young men and women as part of the Lupercalian feast.
On a sort-of spin the bottle variation, a man would draw his dance partner's name from a piece of papyrus placed in a bowl. The man then not only danced with that partner but was also obligated to protect her throughout the year. In many cases, the partners became sweethearts and were soon married. Gradually, as St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers, the Lupercalian celebration shifted to February 14 – and the two combined into a day marked by sending poems and simple gifts such as flowers.
It not only became a day for showing love, but also one of the great days for creating “writers’ moments.” Happy Valentine’s Day!
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