February has long been the month of romance and Valentine’s Day is the holiday that keeps romance alive and well.
The history of Valentine’s Day goes back centuries. It is thought to have originated during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius II. The ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia, a spring festival, on February 15. It was a time of great Christian persecution. At the time, it was illegal to help Christians in anyway, much less be one. On two different years, two men named Valentine were executed on February 14. One of them was supposedly Valentine, the Bishop of Terni. One of them was thought to be a temple priest. Both these men not only helped Christians every way they could, they also married Christian couples. Their aid cost them their lives.
The Catholic Church honored their martyrdom with a celebration of St. Valentine’s Day on the date of their deaths. The first celebration is thought to have been in the year 496.
While the history of this holiday is mostly forgotten today, Valentine’s Day is recognized as an unofficial holiday. Unofficial means government offices and other businesses are open as usual. Restaurants and hotels sometime offer specials for romantic evenings. Jewelry stores offer all matter of special items for that special someone. Hearts, red roses and Cupid are seen everywhere.
Couples all over the US exchange cards, candy, flowers, and other gifts with their special someone. Sometimes it includes a romantic dinner and a night on the town.
For many, it’s the perfect time to pop the question or say, “I do.”