Valentine's Day takes place every February 14th. In the United States and other places around the world, sweets, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of Saint Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and where did these traditions take place? Learn about the history of Valentine's Day, from the ancient Roman ritual of Lupercalia, which welcomed spring, to the map-making customs of Victorian England.
While some believe Valentine's Day is celebrated in mid-February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or Funeral - which probably took place around A.270 - others claim that the Christian church may have decided to hold the feast day of St. Valentine in mid-February to "Christianize" the pagan celebration of Lupercalia February or February 15 was Lupercalia a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.During the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, gathered in a sacred cave where the children Romulus and Remus, the Founders of Rome, presumably were looked after by a she-wolf or Lupa. The priests sacrificed a goat for fertility and a dog for purification, then stripped the goat's skin into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood, and went out into the streets, gently slapping the women and farm fields with the goat skin. Far from being afraid, Roman women welcomed the touch of the furs because it was believed that it would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names on a city. Bachelors in the city would each choose a name and mate during the year with the chosen woman. These parties used to end in marriage.
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