We all celebrate Valentines day but do we really know what its about?
Valentine’s day is traced back to the Ancient Roman celebration, Lupercalia or an ancient Roman festival of purification and fertility, held on February 13 to February 15 to cleanse the city of evil; while giving off health and fertility. The name is also believed to be connected with the Ancient Greek festival, Arcadian Lykaia. This festival was in honor of the Greek god, Lycaean Pan ( believed to be the Roman god, Faunas). He was the god of shepherds hints his name meaning “wolf”. During this ceremony his priest wore goatskins in honor. During the night of February 13 a goat and dog were sacrificed and salt meal cakes were burnt by the Vestal Virgins. It also celebrated the founding of his temple (February 15) also called the Lupercalia.
Valentines day didn’t just honor him but many other gods like Lupercus, Faunus, Romulus and Remus. Their festival paired young men and women. Men would draw a woman’s name from a special box and each pair would stay together until next year’s Lupercalia.
The name “Valentine” came from the priest, Valentine. He was a supporter of soldiers being married although some thought they would be too distracted if they were married or engaged. The priest went behind the emperor’s back, secretly performing marriage ceremonies. For this Valentine was put to death on February 14 or Valentines day as we know it, but not before giving a note to his friend, the warden’s daughter, ending in “your valentine”. The holiday was renamed to St. Valentine and eventually Valentine’s Day.