|Many centuries ago, during
those times when being a
Christian was against the law.
One of the legends says that a
Roman Emperor Claudius the
Second had forbidden his men
to marry. He wanted them to
be heartless and fearless
soldiers, free of wives and
girlfriends. Claudius apparently
decreed that no marriages
should be celebrated and that
all engagements be broken off
|Father Valentine was a kind and wise
person who had a lot of friends. They
begged the Emperor to free him and
sent letters and flowers to jailed
Valentine. Many experts think that
these were the first letters and
flowers sent on Valentine's Day.
|Once upon a time, In ancient Rome,
February 14th was a holiday to
honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of
the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The
Romans also knew her as the
Goddess of women and marriage.
The following day, February 15th,
began the 'Feast of Lupercalia'
(festival of the wolf) which was one
of the most important in Imperial
|For eight hundred years prior to the
establishment of Valentine's Day,
the Romans had practiced a pagan
celebration in mid-February
commemorating young men's rite of
passage to the god Lupercus. The
celebration featured a lottery in
which young men would draw the
names of teenage girls from a vase.
During the festival, the pairs of
children danced and played
together. The girl assigned to each
young man in that manner would be
his sexual companion during the
remaining year. Often, they would
fall in love and would later marry.
|Although the lottery for women had been banned by the
church, the mid-February holiday in commemoration of St.
Valentine was stilled used by Roman men to seek the
affection of women. It became a tradition for the men to
give the ones they admired handwritten messages of
affection, containing Valentine's name. This may have
been the festival that was later named after the former
saint -- Valentine's Day.
|But one of the Christian priests didn't
obey the Emperor's edict. Like Father
Lorenzo in Romeo and Juliet, this
priest (whose name was Father
Valentine) secretly performed
marriages in and around the city of
Rome. Found out not too long later,
Valentine was imprisoned where he
languished and died. Legend has it
devoted friends buried him in the
church of St. Praxedes on the
fourteenth of February, 270 AD.