I will never forget Valentine’s day at school – we would send and receive roses with the boys school down the road. The mixed emotions at break time as you went to collect your rose(s) or left empty handed. The girls who had lots of admirer’s would carry their roses around for the rest of the day, feeling smug and working out who had sent them and what next – to send a text or not. It was all quite jovial and innocent but Valentine’s Day has not always been this way.
Love, although not in form of a red rose, has been on the agenda for 14 February for some time – in ancient Rome on 13, 14 and 15 February they celebrated Lupercalia, a pagan fertility festival. Young men would use goat or dog skin whips to spank the backsides of young women to increase their fertility.
Then in AD289 in Rome, Emperor Claudius banned marriage so that men would make better soldiers. A Christian priest named Saint Valentine received numerous requests from couples who wanted to be married and so he started taking ceremonies in secret. When Emperor Claudius found out about St. Valentine’s doings he imprisoned him and he died in prison on 14 February. In remembrance of Saint Valentine, letters and (later) presents were sent to loved ones on 14 February. Who would have thought…
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