Friday, February 5

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day has never really concerned me. After all, it's all about giving chocolate and red and pink heart-shaped cards to your sweetheart, and since I have never had a sweetheart, it just never really mattered to me. Well, a couple of weeks ago that changed.

Now, before you start thinking that I've gotten a boyfriend and gone all weird and romantic on you, let me explain myself. I love History. I love History so much, that when my Mom asked me to teach my younger siblings World History, I jumped at the chance. Since then, I've been teaching my siblings, and have been learning just as much as they have.

We recently learned about how the Valentine's Day tradition began, and I was surprised when I read it. To explain all this, I'll take you back to ancient Rome around the year 269 A.D. in February. During this time period, Christians were being persecuted for their faith by the Romans, and there was a Christian priest named Valentine who was about to die for his faith. Valentine died on February 14th, the day we know as Valentine's Day.

So what do chocolate and heart-shaped cards have to do with this? Well, the Romans had a holiday known as Lupercalia that they celebrated on February 15th. On this great feast day, young men and women would pair up and spend time together and even exchange gifts. Some of these couples would even marry one another as a result of this courtship.

So what about Cupid? Did he come from this? And how did a martyr and a Roman holiday get put together? Well, Cupid was supposedly the Roman god of love, and if you got shot with one of his arrows, you would fall in love! In 495 A.D. Pope Gelasius decided to replace Lupercalia (February 15th)with the remembering of Saint Valentine (February 14th).

Although it has held the name of the martyr Valentine, we've made Valentine's Day more like Lupercalia. So this Valentine's Day while you're buying chocolates for your honey, or better yet, eating chocolate from your honey, spend a minute and think about Valentine, the priest who died for his Christian faith.


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