Valentine’s Specials: Know evolution and history of popular day
New Delhi: Valentine’s Day, also called St. Valentine’s Day, is celebrated on February 14 every year. The holiday has its origin in the Roman festival of ‘Lupercalia’, which is held in mid February.
Saint Valentine was also known as Saint Valentine of Rome in the 3rd century. He was a churchman in Roman empire, minister to persecuted Christians. On February 14, he was martyred and his body was buried at a graveyard across Flaminia, close to the Ponte Milvio to the north of Rome. Pope Gelasius I established a feast in AD 496 to celebrate February 14 in honour of Saint Valentine, who died on that date in AD 269.
At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine's Day.
Lupercalia is an ancient Roman festival which was conducted actually on February 15 under the Luperci, superintendence of a corporation of priests. The celebration, which commends the arrival of spring, included fertility rites and the blending off of ladies with men by lottery.
February 14 has been celebrated as a day of romance since the 14th century. In the 19th century, people exchanged handwritten notes, greeting cards and chocolates. The first commercial printed card was printed in the United States in the mid-1800s.
The occasion has extended to articulations of love among family members and friends. Many people exchange cards, letters, flowers, or presents to their spouse or partner. Most common gifts on Valentine's Day are candy and flowers, particularly red roses which signify beauty and love.
The day is popular in the United States as well as in Britain, Canada, and Australia and it is also celebrated in other countries including Argentina, France, Mexico, and South Korea.
British chocolate company Cadbury created a fancy box in the shape of heart boxes of filled chocolates which quickly became a trend.
Nowadays, with the help of digital platforms millions of people create and send their emotions to their spouse or partner in unique ways. Here is one poem written by William Shakespeare in his famous book Hamlet:
“To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donned his clothes, And dupp'd the chamber-door; Let in the maid, that out a maid Never departed more.”
—William Shakespeare, Hamlet