Priest Valentinus


Valentinus on Valentine's Day.

According to most historical sources, the origins in the history of Valentine's Day date back to the 3rd century AD. There was then a priest named Valentinus in Rome. He was known for the good deeds he did for the sick, the elderly and the poor. According to these sources, Valentinus healed the blind foster daughter of Asterius, governor of Rome. The Stadholder Asterius was so grateful to him for this that he converted to Christianity and immediately released all Christian prisoners. This was a thorn in the eyes of For emperor Claudius II and this was reason enough to have Valentinus beheaded on 14 February. Most sources say that Valentinus was beheaded for secretly marrying young couples, even though the emperor had strictly forbidden this. Nevertheless, Valentinus was later declared a saint by the church and February 14 became a public holiday. In England in particular, the party was celebrated a lot. At that time it was not usual to openly express your love to someone, but an exception was made on 14 February. Everyone could surprise his beloved with impunity with a gift or letter.


Birds, flowers and bees

Another explanation is that around February 14 the birds start with pairs. Already in the 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote "For this was on Valentine's Day, Whan every foul cometh ther chese his mate" ("because it was on Saint Valentine's Day that every bird chooses a partner"). The 'mating urge' would also turn up on people that day.


A pagan party?

There are also a number of sources that say that Valentine's Day is a derivative of the Roman Lupercalia celebration. Lupercalia was celebrated on February 15 (!) In honor of fertility god Lupercus. This was an important celebration for the Romans at the time. The festival was most likely celebrated near the caves where Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were raised by wolves. According to the Legend, the names of unmarried young women were thrown into a large bowl. Unmarried men were then allowed to take turns taking a name. During the party, these two young people were each other's partners. Even when Christianity emerged in Europe, this pagan festival was banned by the church and Lupercalia was replaced by Valentine's Day.

The facts. A clear fact is that English emigrants have introduced Valentine's Day in America. In the United States, the tradition has been picked up by commerce. Later it became a popular party from this country in many European countries.