How did Valentine’s day start?

2016-02-10 06:00
 Photos: supplied

Photos: supplied

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THERE are two main traditions, which are said to have started the celebration of 14 February.

Roman Feast of Lupercalia.
This ancient pagan fertility celebration, which honoured Juno, goddess of women and marriage, was held on February 14. Women would write love letters and leave them in a large urn. The men of Rome would then draw a note from the urn and ardently pursue the woman who wrote the message they had chosen. Apparently, this
tradition lasted all the way to the 18th century.
Birds and the Bees explanation.
In the Middle Ages, Europeans believed that birds began to mate on February 14 and so people began to send love letters to each other on Valentine’s Day. Believe it? Or not.
Who was St Valentine’s?

There were a whole lot of St Valentines. The Catholic Church recognises at least three, all of whom were supposed to be martyred on February 14 (which seems a little suspicious).
The most popular candidate for St Valentine was a third-century Roman priest who practised Christianity and performed secret marriages against direct orders from
Emperor Claudius II, who believed single soldiers were more likely to join his army.

Legend has it that Valentine fell for the jailer’s daughter and sent her a note signed “From Your Valentine” before he was executed on February 14 in 270 AD. Whatever the original bits and pieces, the blend of Roman festival and Christian martyrdom has caught on, and Valentine’s Day is here to stay.
Traditional Valentine’s symbols

• Red roses
were said to be the favourite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Also, red is a colour that signifies strong feelings.

• Lace has long been used to make women’s handkerchiefs. Hundreds of years ago, if a woman dropped her handkerchief, a man might pick it up for her. Sometimes, if she had her eye on the right man, a woman might intentionally drop her handkerchief to encourage him. So, people began to think of romance when they thought of lace.

• Lovebirds, colourful birds found in Africa, are so named because they sit closely together in pairs - like sweethearts do. Doves are symbols of loyalty and love, because they mate for life and share the care of their babies.
• Sealed with an ‘X’.
Do you know how an X started representing a kiss? This tradition started with the Medieval practice of allowing those who could not write to sign documents with an “X”.

This was done before witnesses, and the signer placed a kiss upon the “X” to show sincerity.

— Women24.

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