Valentines Presents / January 11, 2019 / Blanche Durham
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.
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.
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