Romantic card: check. Roses and chocolates: check. Diamonds, ever so neatly wrapped in a gift box: check. Ok, now you feel ready to join the millions of people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Wait, before you send that card or hand over the gifts, do you know where and when this whole Valentine’s thing began? Well, here’s a little information for you.
Some sources say that Valentine’s Day as we know it now was originally a Roman pagan celebration called Lupercalia in which they worshiped the god Lupercus. Lupercus is credited with watching over the shepard’s flocks and saving the flocks from wolves. Part of the annual celebration in paying homage to Lupercus involved a purification ritual that was believed to enhance fertility and to ease childbirth.
The ancient celebration of Lupercalia was linked to modern Valentines Day when Pope Gelasius I deemed the ancient celebration immoral. Somewhere around 496 AD he replaced the February 15th celebration of Lupercalia with the February 14th celebration of Valentine’s Day. Here is where it gets a little fuzzy as to which saint was THE Saint. Apparently there were several Saint Valentines; one was a Roman priest, another an Interamna Bishop and yet a third who lived and subsequently died in Africa.
Now that you’ve read the above, you’re probably more confused about holiday’s origin. Wherever it came from or however it began, the one thing for certain is that today’s retailers are loving it.
According to the National Retail Federation, in 2007 Americans will spend $16.9 billion in Valentine’s cards and gifts. That’s an average of $119.67 per person, up $18.78 per person from 2006. Florists report Valentine’s Day as their number one holiday. That’s a lot of flowers and candy.
Now that I’ve taken all of the romance out of the holiday, go out and enjoy.
That’s my two cents and I’m sticking with it!