Valentines Presents / January 11, 2019 / Mara Beasley
Sound nice? No. Not nice. Just truly truly terrible. Unless youve been buried underground youve probably been inundated with Valentines present ideas via spam emails and TV adverts constantly advising you not to forget your sweetheart; imploring for romantic getaways... weekend theatre tickets... restaurant deals...... Valentines day presents for men... Valentines presents for her... the list goes on. Whether Valentines Day is a delight or fills you with fright when and why did this event turn into such a big deal? Does anyone actually remember the origin of February 14th and what its original meaning was? And what on earth happened to the good old days of cards sealed with red wax left secretly at a lovers doorstep... cutting out paper hearts... gobbling down a couple of powdery sweets embossed with Be Mine and being done with it? As we know it Valentines Day is a time of year when theoretically the lovely lady or gent in your life flatters you with Valentines presents usually in the form of chocolates...sweets... roses... clothes... hats or stuffed animals.
But the main reason behind buying valentines gifts for men and women was in fact a kindly cleric named Valentine who died over a thousand years ago... As history would have it Valentines Day derived from the Roman pagan fertility celebration known as Lupercalia which was held on February 15th. During this ritual a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year to promote fertility and deflect disasters. Then in 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius wanted to add a Christian slant to the pagan celebration a day earlier. He made the conscious decision to pay tribute to a young soldier who lived in Rome who was put to death for his Christian beliefs on February 14th 269 A.D. This young soldier then became dubbed Saint Valentine.
This was where young men drew young womens names from a box to commemorate their rite of passage to the god Lupercus. The chooser and chosen would then be paired for one year. These random pairings often led to marriage. The Church of course didnt like the pagan festival so Pope Galasius the bishop of Rome amended this celebration slightly. He filled the box with the names of dead saints instead of girls and allowed both men and women to draw from the box. He believed this would encourage youngsters to copy the ways of the saint for the remainder of the year. On 14th February 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius declared this day to be Saint Valentines Day an official Catholic Holiday. By the early 1700s the United States started celebrating this day of love by swapping love notes and exchanging Valentines gifts for boyfriends girlfriends wives and husbands.