Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is St. Valentine and why do we celebrate this holiday? In my quest for information I stumbled upon this little tidbit of 411 and just had to share:
While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial — which probably occurred around 270 A.D — others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to 'christianize' celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or Lupa. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification.
The boys then sliced the goat's hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goat hide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.
Well, slap me with goat hide and call me a baaaaaaahd girl… And to think that modern day Valentine’s have been reduced to a card and box of bon-bons! Leave it to the damn Christians to ruin a perfectly good matchmaking orgy in which even the most homely of maiden’s had a chance for procreation! Grab ‘em and bag ‘em!