Valentine’s Day (CC-2)
Valentine’s Evolution From The Heart
You would think that Valentine's day has always been full of candy hearts and flowers. However, that isn’t necessary how it went down at the beginning. Today i am going to tell you about the evolution of Valentine's day, and how it became what it is we know today.
I’m going to start at the beginning. A rough 1,521 years ago in the year of 496. This is the year of the first official “Valentine’s day” was celebrated. This was when the Christian church used the Roman festival lupercalia as a reason to remember St. Valentine and his story. Oh. snap. Sorry guys i got ahead of myself. Let's back up even further to the year of 354. This was the year that the festival was first put on the calendar. Now, i should probably tell you what this festival is even about.
This festival was focused on fertility and purity. They believed that if they engaged in the sacrifices and rituals that the village would be cleansed and that fertility would soon follow. They would sacrifice goats and would then strip the hides from the animal, soak it in milk, and the whip women with it. Yes. you heard me right. They would beat women with milk soaked goat hide. Adding onto that traumatic experience the men would strip naked while doing this. In some villages the women would line up for the beatings. Those tended to be the more organized towns. whereas other villages the men would just frolic through the streets naked until a woman would jump infront of them, asking for the beating. Now you may think that the women were CRAZY. And now.. I mean.. I can’t blame you. But at the same time they actually believed that it would make them fertile, and if they were already pregnant, it would ensure a good labor. Now moving onto the less violent side of the festival. They would put women's names in a box and then men would draw the names out of the box. Whoevers name you drew from the box was your girlfriend for the length of the festival. However, if the “match” was right, they could stay together and get married.
Now, lets carry on. Adding onto what i said previously. first there was lupercalia. Next the christian church used the festival to remember St Valentine. Now to clarify on that. The church has been around the festival for many many years but they eventually decided that it was too barbaric and they needed to convert it into something slightly more innocent. Now they did so by taking out the naked ravaging men and clothed them. They also made it less of a beat and more of a light whip. No, it wasn’t much of a change but it was something. They also included a whole other part. They added St Valentine. Now who was he? And what did he do that was worth bringing him back?
Valentine was a man.. Or should i say men.. of many myths. To this day the church isn’t entirely sure that St.Valentine is based off of a single man, or two separate men with the same name. However the saint is considered a single man. Anyway. Saint Valentine is the saint of love, young people, and happy marriages. Now, how exactly is his story significant? Well in rome during the 3rd century, Emperor Claudius the 2nd had banned marriage because of this idea that married men were bad soldiers. But Valentine, as the gallant lad he is, decided that banning marriage was wrong and then performed them in secret. He eventually got caught and was sentenced to death. When he was in jail he fell for the jailer's daughter. Sadly their love couldn’t be happily ever after, but on the day that he was sentenced to death Valentine gave her a letter of his love signed “your valentine”. And with this the famous saying “be my valentine?” was born.
So now as you know Lupercalia was the start of all this mess. It was celebrated mid February from the 13th to the 15th. Next came the Christian's kinder outlook which was celebrated on the 15th. Now if we skip forward to Pope Gelasius. Gelasius was what started the February 14th Valentine's day tradition that we know today. In the 5th century Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as the day for St.Valentine's remembrance. He also outlawed Lupercalia because it was “un-christian”. Thank glob thats over! However, it wasn't until the 1300s that Valentine's day was actually associated with love and romance.
Now how exactly did Cupid and his arrow come to be? Cupid, which is one of the most famous of the Valentine's Day symbols, is the Roman god of love. In Greece they believe he is the son of aphrodite and Ares. Aphrodite as the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. and Ares as the god of war.he also went by Eros instead of Cupid. Whereas the Roman culture believe he is son of Mercury and Venus. He eventually became known as the god of affection. He is known for his gold arrows and forceful love. I would consider it forceful because once shot by one of his gold arrows you instantly fall deeply in love.
Now who else is surprised about Valentine's day history? I know i am! Anywho, back to the serious stuff. In the 15th century valentines day greeting cards appeared. By the 17th century, people in Britain began the tradition of exchanging cards or letters to loved ones for this holiday. It then leaked its way over to the United States. However, to our shock, Valentines day cards weren’t mass produced until the late 1840s to early 1850s.
Present day Valentine's day has converted to less of a religious holiday and more of an excuse to buy things for your fellow loved ones. Todays Valentines Day traditions consist of romantic gestures, card giving, and cheesy poems. Now, to this day Valentines Day is one of the most profitable holidays the United States have.
Did you know??
The shape heart actually came from the seed of the silphium plant, also from stylized depictions of features of the human female body, such as the female's buttocks, pubic mound, or spread vulva. Wild right?!
According to abc’s article “Valentine's Day by the numbers” the total amount of spendings are supposed to top 18.2 BILLION dollars! That is an average of 136 dollars spent on Valentine's day per person! Adding onto your wow, 54% of all Americans celebrate it! That is a insanely high percentage! Americans are expected to spend a total of 4.3 billion dollars on jewelry for valentine's day. In addition they spend a average of 2 billion dollars on flowers. Americans also spend about 1.7 billion dollars on chocolate and candies. Now lastly they spend an average of 1 billion dollars on cards. And if that still wasn't enough for you, it is expected that over 6 million people are to get engaged on valentine's day.
Now at the end of this you may be asking yourself “how does this even tie into world history?”. Well. I’ll tell you. Throughout this blog you've learned about Valentine's day and its revolution throughout cultures and places. You learned about the Romans questionable festival: Lupercalia. You learned about St. Valentine and his story. How the Church converted the festival into a “more catholic like” holiday. And then learned about the spread of Valentine's day and how it evolved throughout the years. I hope you learned something new and interesting out of this. I know i have!