Happy Valentines Day… But is it a Happy Day?

I put this post up a year ago and Thought I would do it again to keep people on point in their un-learning.

Hotels, restaurants, flower shops and pubs will be crammed in three days time with those who have partners expressing public affection. Like all worship days they always have a history that people are unaware of. The pagan celebration of Lupercalia celebrated the ides of February. A day to wish for a successful crop in the coming year.

Rome decided they needed to Christianise this celebration and turned into a day of bloody, violent, and sexually charged celebrations awash with animal sacrifice, random matchmaking and coupling in the hope of warning off evil spirits and infertility.

Public gatherings for sacrifice also occurred around Rome in places like Palatine Hill and Lupercal cave where male goats were blood let by having their throat cut. The blood was then smeared on the foreheads and cheeks of the priests which is the same ceremony used with foxhunting and blooding an initiate.

During this three-day ceremony from February 13 to the 15th the bodies of these sacrificed creatures were skinned, and strips of flesh were used by men throughout Rome to wip women and according to legend the women regarded it as lucky. My first thought when reading this was, I sincerely hope this is not where we get the term “hitting on women”.

These vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman traditions are wrapped up in the ceremony and the ancient patron, Saint Valentine. In Roman history there were three different men named Valentine or Valentinus. All slain in February.
When the Roman Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made much better warriors and soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men.

One young priest called Valentine thought the injustice of the decree was unjust and performed secret marriages for young people in defiance of Claudius. When these actions were discovered, Claudius ordered his death by burning. A Bishop also known as Valentine of Terni did the same and Claudius had him also dispatched but with beheading.

The third Valentine who was killed by Claudius was a man who helped Christians escape Roman prisons where they were treated harshly. When this Valentine was sent to prison, he fell for the daughter of the jailer who held him in captivity. During this confinement, the feelings became mutual and before his death (Another beheading) he sent her a letter which he signed “from your valentine “.

An expression still used today. He was later forgiven and pronounced a Saint by Rome, how kind.
In the late fifth century A.D. Pope Gelasius changed the celebration into the celebration of multitude of Valentines and expressly the Saint. Modern biblical scholars warn Christians not to celebrate this day in any way.

February 14 in the Middle Ages was recognised by France and England as being a birds start date to the mating season. The poet Jeffrey Chaucer mentioned this romantic celebration in 1375 “parliament of fouls “.

The oldest surviving Valentines note in existence is in the Tower of London dated 1415 and was by Charles Duke of Orleon (France). The letter was to his wife while he was imprisoned following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.

This declaration of affection filtered its way into the rest of Europe and handmade paper cards became a demonstration of interest. Eventually when this tradition made its way to the New World the industrial revolution ushered in factory made cards and in 1913 Hallmark Cards of Kansas City began mass-producing them. Interestingly this single day of card purchasing keeps these card manufacturers in business for the rest of the year which, most months they run at a loss.

Happy goat killing, beheading, fornicating, whipping, blood smearing day. And let’s not forget if you send someone a note saying “be my valentine” you’re really saying you’re about to be dispatched by Claudius.

Question Everything.

gary of the family fraughen
www.garyfraughen.co.uk

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