Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?

You can read about St. Valentine and his interest in uniting couples in the introduction. Here, we’ll talk about what happened to him, and also about why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14.

There are varying ideas about what exactly happened to Valentine after his arrest.

A few historians say that he was beheaded, whereas the others say that he became sick and died in prison.

In 1835, the remains of St. Valentine were given to Father John Spratt by Pope Gregory XVI. The gift, in a black and gold casket, can still be viewed every Valentine’s Day at the Whitefrair Street Church in Dublin, Ireland.

There was another Valentine, a bishop of Interamna during the same time, and some critics say that it was the Valentine of Interamna who is the actual Valentine.

On the other hand, we also have a few who are convinced that both were the same person.

While Valentine was in prison awaiting his fate, he came in contact with his jailor, Asterius. The jailor had a blind daughter. Asterius requested him to heal his daughter. Through his faith he miraculously restored the sight of Asterius’ daughter.

It is believed that he fell in love with this girl, who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a heartfelt letter, which he signed ‘From your Valentine’. And even now, years and centuries after this letter was written, the expression has touched our hearts and we still use the same words of love that was used to express an emotion that has no words to explain.

Why February 14?

In 496 A.D., February 14 was declared in the name of St. Valentine by Pope Gelasius. It remained a Church holiday until 1969, when Pope Paul VI took it out from the calendar.

On February 13 and 14, the ancient Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia in honor of Juno, the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses. Juno was also the goddess of women and marriage, so honoring her was thought to be a fertility rite.

At the feast held the next day, the women would write love letters and stick them in a large urn. The men would pick a letter from the urn and for the next year, pursue the woman who wrote the chosen letter. This custom lasted until the 1700’s when people decided their beloveds should be chosen by sight, not luck.

But people continued to write love notes and exchange gifts on February 14, and hence this day was dedicated to the priest who died trying to bring lovers together, and to all the lovers all over the world. Thus, Valentine became a Patron Saint and a spiritual overseer of this loving annual festival of love and togetherness.

So now that you know why we celebrate Valentine’s Day, share it with your loved one.

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