A Little History on V-Day…


Some people think Valentine’s Day also known as Single’s Awareness Day is not just some fabricated greetings card holiday. The religious police in Saudi Arabia, banned the sale of all Valentine’s Day items as they consider it a Christian holiday. In the play “Julius Caesar”, Caesar commands Anthony to give his sterile wife Calpurnia a good whipping during the Lupercalia celebration that takes place a month before the Ides of March or March 15. The Lupercalia festival was to honor Lupa, the she-wolf, who nursed the infant orphans Romulus and Remus according to Roman legend. Romulus and Remus founded the city of Rome in 753 B.C.E. The once paganistic festival also honored the God of shepherds Lupercus.

In 313, C.E. Emperor Constantine the Great legalized Christianity. This ended the persecution of Christians in Rome. However, the pagans did not entirely abandon the traditions and practices they held before after becoming Christians. One of the traditions introduced to the church was Lupercalia: a fertility celebration. During the celebration, priests scarified a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. Then, the men cut the goats hide into strips, and dunked them in the sacrificial blood and take to the streets. The men of Rome would then tenderly slap both women and crops with the goat hide strips. Roman women embraced the whacks because they thought the strips would make them more fertile in the upcoming year. Later that day, the young women in the city would put their names in a huge vase. The city’s bachelors would then each choose a name out of the vase to pair with for a year often ending in marriage. The Romans believed a there was a mysterious force that had power over the animal and vegetable world.

The church officially implemented the festival of Lupercalia as a day to honor Saint Valentine after the death of Emperor Anthemius in 472 B.CE. Pope Gelasius I changed Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14 and the name to St. Valentine’s Day in homage to St. Valentine the patron saint of lovers.

Written with the help of  “Valentine’s Day.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2014.


-Alliciya George

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