I Will Not Sacrifice a Goat For My Valentine


Who was St. Valentine and why is he linked to romance? One legend surrounds a saint named Valentine who was a priest in the third century in Rome. The Emperor, Claudius II believed that single men made better soldiers than those that were married. Young men would be breaking the law by marrying and Valentine did not go along with the decree. He defied Claudius and performed marriage in secret. He literally died for the love of others as he was put to death for this defiance. During his imprisonment, Valentine's jailer had asked him to educate his daughter, Julia, who was blind. He taught her of God, nature and arithmetic. They became quite close and miraculously her vision returned. Before being put to death of February 14th, he wrote her a note and signed it "from your Valentine."

Another legend has it that the St. Valentine's Day was meant to Christianize the Pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival that occurred on February 15th. The Roman priests would sacrifice a goat for fertility and a dog for purification, and take the hide of the goat dyed in the sacrificial blood and walk the streets of the city slapping women with it. This was welcomed as it was supposed to make the women more fertile. Pope Gelasius declared the holiday of Lupercalia illegal but made tribute to Valentine with a feast on February 14th at the end of the 5th century. No one is quite sure which Valentine the Pope was honoring, as he never really stated it and there were so many. Valentine was quite a common name between the second and eighth centuries, as the name means strong and powerful in the Latin language. In France and England, it was believed that the birds mating season began on that day. Hence the romance of the date.

It its believed that the first correlation of Valentine and Love is credited to Chaucer, in a poem he wrote in honor of the first anniversary of King Richard II of England and Anne of Bohemia's engagement. In the poem he wrote the line, "For this was Saint Valentine's day, when every bird of every kind that men can imagine comes to this place to choose his mate."

While no one is exactly sure of the origin, the holiday and it's celebration of love is certainly alive and well! We have selected some wonderful gifts for the occasion. For our gift guide for women, click here and for men, click here. You can also find our listing of sweets, by clicking here.

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