‘Your Valentine’: Life of Valentine’s namesake shrouded in mystery – The Vicksburg Post

This is called a special day for lovers.

Valentine’s Day, or Valentine’s Day as it is more commonly known, is a time of love and romance and is named after a man whose life and connection to the holiday that bears his name are shrouded in legend.

According to History.com, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.

A legend claims that Valentine was a priest who served in third century Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he banned the marriage of young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He was also beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome.

According to the website, another legend suggests that Valentine may have been killed for trying to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to a legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” to greet each other after he fell in love with a young girl – possibly the daughter of his jailer – who visited him during his imprisonment.

Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine”, an expression still in use today. Although, according to the website, the truth behind the legend of Saint Valentine is murky, the stories all point to his appeal as a likeable, heroic and, above all, romantic character. In the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

And the origin of the festival that bears his name is also a subject of discussion.

According to the website, some people believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in mid-February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial, around 270 AD, while others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place its feast day in mid-February. in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of the Lupercalia.

Lupercalia was celebrated on the Ides of February, or February 15, and was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

According to legend, at some point during the ceremony, all the young women in the town would put their names in a large urn. Singles in the city would each choose a name and be matched for the year with the woman they had chosen. These matches often ended in marriage.

While the Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity, according to the website, they were later deemed “un-Christian” in the late 5th century when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 Valentine’s Day.

It is only much later that the day is definitely associated with love. In the Middle Ages, according to the website, it was widely believed in France and England that February 14 marked the start of the mating season for birds, which reinforced the idea that Valentine’s Day should be a day of romance. .

The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to record Valentine’s Day as a day of romantic celebration in his 1375 poem “Parliament of Crowds”, writing: “For it was sent on the day of Seynt Valentyne / Whan every fault comes choose his comrade.

Valentine’s Day greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, although written Valentine’s Day didn’t begin to appear until after 1400, according to the website.

The oldest known valentine still extant today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orléans, to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.

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