Valentine’s Day: the feast of lovers between history and legend
The feast of lovers, better known as Valentine’s Day, has very ancient origins that are intertwined between history, legend and anecdotes.
It is celebrated all over the world, with few exceptions, on February 14th. Not only flowers, romantic gifts and messages of love, but real love rituals, like in Japan, where the girl gives the boy she loves some chocolates and if the beloved corresponds, he will have to reciprocate the gesture, giving his time a gift to the woman a month after March 14th.
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Not everyone knows why this very day was chosen and what is the origin of this holiday. It’s really not easy to establish the exact origins of the feast of St. Valentine, but the most accredited story dates back to Roman times, around 500 AD. when with the rites of Lupercalia, celebrated between February 13 and 15 of each year, the city and its inhabitants were purified from the influx of evil demons. The servants took the place of the masters, masks were worn and Roman women subjected themselves to the blows of rods by undressed men: the belief was that this ritual propitiated fertility.
In contrast with Christian morality, the Lupercalia were abolished and were replaced with the establishment of a day dedicated to romantic love, ideally associated with the protection of Valentine’s Day,
Legend has it that Valentino was a martyr bishop, chosen as the patron saint of lovers’ day, because he was the first to celebrate the union between a Roman legionary and a Christian woman.