3rd Year Week 5 HT05
following six paragraphs into Chinese
The Roman Feast of Lupercalia
The ancient custom of choosing Valentines has its origins as a Roman holiday - Lupercalia, a lovers' festival for young people, celebrated on 15th February, and which was marked by the giving of presents. The day celebrated the start of the mating season of birds, who were supposed to choose their mates on 14th February!
Who WAS St Valentine?
Well, there were at least two of them!! The first was a Christian priest who died in prison in the year 270, and another was a Bishop of Terni, who was Martyred some few years later.
The Valentine we are interested in was the Christian priest who lived during the rule of the Roman Emperor Claudius II. During this period, Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular military campaigns. The Emperor, nicknamed Claudius the Cruel(!!), was having difficulties persuading his male citizens to join his military leagues, and came to believe that this was due to the fact that they did not want to leave their families and loved ones. His solution to this problem was to forbid all marriages and engagements in Rome.
When this ban came to the knowledge of the priest Valentine, he secretly began to marry these poor beleaguered Roman couples. Claudius, on discovering this defiance of his edict, imprisoned Valentine. who remained incarcerated until his death on February 14 in AD 270.
How Did the Roman Feast of Lupercalia Become St Valentine's Day?
During the next few hundred years, Christianity gradually became more and more widespread throughout Europe.
As the Church became stronger, it sought to do away with Pagan festivals, and was sometimes conveniently able to combine or replace the original Pagan version with a Christian version of the holiday.
Valentine was made a Saint in honour of his defence of the Christian principles of love and marriage, and as Roman who had died in February on the eve of Lupercalia his day of remembrance took the place of the original Pagan fertility festival.
And although the ways and means of celebration may have evolved over the centuries, these ancient themes of love and fertility still endure to this day, and as the Romans did, we still declare our love with gifts and cards.
Taken from http://cybercelebrations.com/Valentines/festivals.html