This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.
Ah, here is 14 February ! Another Valentine's day for the year 2008. The world celebrates this day by sending cards, flowers and gifts to their lovers.
But I wonder how many of us know the history behind this great day. The modern "Valentine's day" owes its origin to a feast called ‘Lupercalia' which used to be celebrated in
As years passed by, these unwelcome animals retreated deep into the forests leaving the human beings in perfect peace. And as a result, Lupercalia became a festival day, a spring festival day.
On the eve of the Lupercalia day, (14 Feb), young girls used to drop their names, written on small slips of paper into a box. Young men drew out the chits and the girl concerned became his sweetheart for that year. The box itself was called ‘Valentine box' and thus the day (14 Feb) came to be known as "Valentine's day." Sweethearts chosen by this method were known as ‘Valentines' of the young men.
[If finding a girl friend or boy friend could be as easy as that, we must re-start this technology in all cities in the current century. Young men and women, please take note]
There perhaps is another reason for naming this day the ‘Valentine's day'. In the book called Books of Martyrs, it is seen that three saints named ‘Valentine' had been killed on 14 Feb. One of them was a priest in
A benevolent priest by the name Valentine refused to observe this order and got young men married off secretly. When Claudius came to know of it, he had Valentine arrested and imprisoned. Within days, he was beheaded on 14 Feb.
Another Valentine was the bishop of Interamna (now
Very little is known about the third Valentine except that he was martyred in
These martyrs were acknowledged as saints after their death. With the spread of Christianity, the priests changed the day of the spring festival from February 15, to 14. And the day now honours St.Valentine instead of Lupercalia. And St Valentine has become the patron saint of young lovers.
The message of the Valentine's day is: love, friendship, loyalty and understanding between lovers.
Now my footnote is this: Could a wife be called the husband's Valentine?
I did hail my wife by that name and she retorted, "Have you forgotten my real name or what? Who is this female called Valentine anyway? What have you to do with her?" She shook her head in disgust. "And that too at this age of yours….…. ?" She continued her titter for several seconds waving an index finger disapprovingly.