THE STORY OF VALENTINE
holiday of Valentine's Day probably derives its origins from the ancient Roman
feast of Lupercalia. In the early days of Rome, fierce wolves roamed the
woods nearby. The Romans called upon one of their gods, Lupercus, to keep the
wolves away. A festival held in honor of Lupercus was celebrated February 15th.
The festival was celebrated as a spring festival. Their calendar was different
at that time, with February falling in early springtime.
One of the customs of the young people
was name-drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of
Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man
drew a slip. The girl whose name was chosen was to be his sweetheart for the
Legend has it that the holiday became
Valentine's Day after a priest named Valentine. Valentine was a priest in
Rome at the time Christianity was a new religion. The Emperor at that time,
Claudius II, ordered the Roman soldiers NOT to marry or become engaged. Claudius
believed that as married men, his soldiers would want to stay home with their
families rather than fight his wars. Valentine defied the Emperor's decree and
secretly married the young couples. He was eventually arrested, imprisoned, and
put to death
Valentine was beheaded on February 14th,
the eve of the Roman holiday Lupercalia. After his death, Valentine was named a
saint. As Rome became more Christian, the priests moved the spring holiday from
the 15th of February to the 14th - Valentine's Day. Now the holiday honored
Saint Valentine instead of Lupercus.