By Larry James, Relationship Coach & Author
Have you ever wondered how Valentine's Day came to be?
The Story behind St. Valentines Day is a fascinating one. Although February 14th is celebrated as a lovers' holiday today, with the giving of candy, flowers, Valentine's Day card and other gifts between couples in love, it originated as a tribute to St. Valentine, a Catholic bishop.
As early as the fourth century B.C., the Romans engaged in an annual young man's rite of passage to the God Lupercus. It's earliest orgin was the Roman festival Lupercalia, observed on Feb. 15. Lupercalia celebrated the coming of Spring on the Roman calendar. Lupercalia became a celebration intended to ensure the fertility of flocks, fields and people.
The names of the teenage women were placed in a box and drawn at random by adolescent men; thus, a man was assigned a woman companion (a sexual partner) for the duration of the year, after which another lottery was staged. After eight hundred years of this cruel practice, the early church fathers sought to end this practice.
In an effort to do away with the pagan festival, Pope Gelasius ordered a slight change in the lottery. Instead of the names of young women, the box would contain the names of saints. Both men and women were allowed to draw from the box, and the game was to emulate the ways of the saint they drew during the rest of the year. Needless to say, many of the young Roman men were not too pleased with the rule changes.