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Saints or Sages — History Culture Faith

Feast of Valentine — What Are We Commemorating or Celebrating?

during the 3rd century of the Roman Emperor Claudius II…

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

February had been known for the month of Love. Many people celebrate Valentine’s Day. It had been the month of love, holy matrimony, or romance.

However, were you aware of the history behind what you celebrated often? Every celebration had its story. Saints existed across the globe from the past till today. Regardless of religion, beliefs, faith, tribes, language, and race, Saints existed.

I listed the sources as references at the bottom of this article. Now let us get into some venture of reading in lieu of the coming month…

💌 “From your Valentine…” 💌

Who was St. Valentine?

Some resources mentioned there were 2-different Valentines. The Romans Roster of Saints listed thousands of names with Valentine.

The 2-story behind St. Valentines were known as the following:

  • The priest of a roman catholic church in Rome who helped lovers get married when the Emperor outlawed holy matrimony for that period
  • The bishop of Terni who spread the teachings of Christianity and the Emperor wanted to prevent this from widespread

In both situations, the saints got martyred by the Roman Emperor, Claudius II. 1 event took place within Rome and the other at the outskirts.

  • As both events involved the same emperor some resources claimed both Valentines were the same person.
  • Any other references viewed it as different persons or different Valentines. And so these Valentines were remembered as — St. Valentines — who lived by the virtue and basis of love.

Because of little information, Saint Valentines’ name got listed among the Roman Martyrology, but not in the calendar.

Variations in reasons of imprisonment

1 — Holy matrimony for Lovers outlawed by the Roman Emperor in the 3rd century

Emperor Claudius II needed young men to be soldiers. Marriage or love would be a hindrance or distraction. Young and single men performed better as soldiers. Thus, marriage was outlawed or banned.

But, Saint Valentine helped lovers for marriage. There was no way anyone could deny love. We knew we were born with the natural needs of love and desire for one another, right?

After marriage, the men would not be serving as soldiers. It enraged the Roman Emperor who wanted to build a strong army. Thus, Saint Valentine got jailed.

2 — His loyalty to faith in Christ and refused to worship Roman gods

Some resources mentioned Saint Valentine was under house arrest. Subsequently, he was transferred to jail. Saint Valentine had a close rapport with Judge Asterious.

In some resources, it was mentioned that Judge Asterious introduced his daughter, Julia, for guidance. Julia was blind, thus needed someone to read for her. She gained sight after the saint’s death.

In another resource, it was said that Judge Asterious gave him time to prove his sainthood or miracles in the belief of Christ. 2-different stories were told about this scenario.

  • Saint Valentine placed his hands on Julia and she recovered her sight.
  • On another account, Saint Valentine was a doctor or traditional healer. Julia’s sight recovered over several treatments.

In either of these versions, the Judge was pleased. He released all Christian inmates.

However, the Roman Emperor was displeased over 2 accounts.

  • Saint Valentine did not denounce his faith in Christ. During that century, the Romans Empire did not worship as Christians. The Emperor was not in favor of the religion.
  • Saint Valentine helped lovers into marriage despite knowing it was outlawed. The emperor needed a strong army made up of single, young men.

Before Saint Valentines got martyred, he wrote a farewell letter to Julia. It was signed off 💌“From your Valentine.” 💌

His death was recorded as 14 February 270 AD.

How The Celebration or Commemoration Began

For many years during the Roman empire, people worshipped Roman gods. Some resources mentioned it was the celebration day for the Feast of Lupercalia or the Fertility Festival.

1 — Feast of Lupercalia Day or Fertility Festival

14 February: The day in honor of a mythology goddess named Juno Hera.

Some sources of Greek Mythology stated that Juno was the wife of Zeus. She was known for being the goddess of women, marriage, and childbirth. In other resources, it was mentioned that Juno was a goddess of wisdom in the Roman Empire. It seemed to be 2-different Junos.

15 February: The Feast of Lupercalia day was celebrated.

It involved blood sacrifice of animals as love and milk as cleansing or fertility. The colors red and white were associated with these. It was also known Fertility Festival.

2 — Beginning for Feast of Valentines Day

This began in the 5th century. Christianity was widespread. Instead of following the Feast of Lupercalia practices, Pope Gelasius I made the day a remembrance of Saint Valentine for his faith in Christ and living life with the virtue of love. In some resources, it mentioned that some modern believers in Christ do not celebrate St. Valentines Day.

3 — Season of Mating for Birds

February had been the spring season where birds started to find their mate. So, spring was known as a season of mating.

So here were 3-stories behind 1-objective — LOVE

  • Fertility Festival (Lupercalia Celebration) of pagans during Romans
  • Saint Valentine (helped lovers to marry and spread the love of Christ)
  • Season of Mating (birds find their mate)

It explained how people spent the day in the past years. Let us look at the things involved in the celebration during February this century.

Things Involved In Celebration Today

  • People celebrate or commemorate the day by the term ‘Feast of Valentine’. You will see common acts of candlelight dinner between lovers today. (choose your menu and venue)
  • People sent cards or love letters following the act of Saint Valentine who wrote the farewell letter “From your Valentine” to Julia. (choose your love language of words)
  • People proposed on Valentine’s day as Saint Valentine was known for helping lovers come together in holy matrimony. (choose your ring for proposal)
  • The red roses are pretty much the main flower for being romantic as it is associated to love and some are mixed with white roses for fertility (choose your flowers)

Summary

Saint Valentines lived in the 3rd century under the Roman Empire. The martyrdom was due to helping the holy matrimony of lovers and spreading the Love of Christ.

  • Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia or known as Fertility Festival. And a day before, some of them honored the Greek Mythological goddess Juno Hera.
  • Feast of Valentine’s or Valentines’ Day began in the 5th century some mentioned 6th, where Pope Gelasius I initiated to replace Lupercalia celebration.
  • Some modern believers in Christ do not commemorate Saint Valentines’ Day. But if they did, they spent the day to spread the message of LOVE. As a biblical reminder stated: Love one another as I Love you

I thank you for reading till this end. It takes a lot of patience to read long writings. It takes a lot of focus to understand the overlapping history and events. References were from websites thus for more readings you might be interested in looking for some books too. I hope you enjoyed.

If you would like to read more articles it cost only $5 monthly or $50 annually. If you want to tip me with a cup of coffee, you may find me here.

Author’s @ 2022 reminder : Love, Conviction and Determination

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