Valentines Presents / January 11, 2019 / Kelly Roberson
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.
The country was under the power of the hard-hearted Roman Emperor Claudius II who at the time forbade marriage ceremonies and constantly betrothed Rome in bloody battles. He had a crazy idea. He thought if a man wasnt married he wouldnt mind joining the army. But to his horror Claudius discovered that men were reluctant to join the army because of their loyalty to their wives and families. So he sanctioned a callous order that banned engagements and marriages in Rome. But in spite of this Saint Valentine continued to perform marriage rituals. Thrown into jail it was said that Valentine fell in love with his jailors daughter and restored her sight through his Christian faith and devotion for her. Before his execution Valentine sent her a final message signed "From your Valentine" - a phrase that gets a lot of mileage and one which has become an everlasting symbol of camaraderie and warmth.
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.