A Very Brief History Of Valentine’s Day

It’s almost that special time of year when lovers swoon and singles moon about wishing for love, Valentine’s Day. This day dedicated to romance is celebrated in one form or another all around the world on all seven continents (yes, those chilly scientists in Antarctica have it, too!), to the delight of many, and to the disappointment of some. But even the lovelorn can hold out hope that maybe next year they will find someone special to spend a lot of money on!

Valentine’s Day is a time of gift giving only rivaled by Christmas, with lovers rushing about trying to find the perfect present for that special someone. Chocolates are a must, as well as arranging for that Valentine’s Day flower delivery that is the perfect way to express one’s undying love and affection! Woe betide the silly fellow who forgets to bring his blushing bride home a gift, move over Rover because your master needs to bunk with you for a few days!

So, how did all this love-fuelled fuss get started? Let’s take a brief look at the history of Valentine’s Day!

According to the history books, the man who started it all was a priest in third-century Rome who specialized in conducting marriage ceremonies. The emperor in those days was your typical warmongering thug who loved his wars above all else because every story needs a despicable villain! This creep in a crown came up with the clever concept that unmarried single men made better soldiers, so he banned marriage! The men thought this was a terrible idea, so they continued to get married anyway. 

The kindly priest Valentine took pity on these poor young couples and continued to marry them despite the emperor’s decree, thumbing his nose at authority. Unfortunately, Claudius II, evil emperor and all, took umbrage at that and promptly had Valentine executed. The martyred Valentine was made a saint for his selfless sacrifice to true love, so they named this day for lovers after him!

Nobody is sure the rationale behind Valentine’s Day celebrations in February, but there are some theories, one of which is that in the northern hemisphere, it’s cold enough to keep all that chocolate from melting. The most favored theory is that it was the month that saw the martyrdom of Saint Valentine, however, some maintain that February was the first month in which it was observed for an old Roman pagan festival called Lupercalia that was held in a sacred cave by mysterious druids, and featured fun festivities like sacrificing goats and wild naked dances, which were believed to make women more fertile. The Christians had taken over by this time and were not amused by such antics, so they did their thing and shoehorned the festival into their faith. For another classic example of this practice see Yuletide and Christmas! Anyway, it did the trick, although there are certainly some among us who think Lupercalia would have been more fun.

Of course, Valentine’s Day isn’t an official Australian Government holiday, but allowances are usually made for people to get enough time off to celebrate it, after all, lovers need a chance to smell those flowers and eat too much chocolate. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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