Love is in the air
Everywhere I look around
Love is in the air
Every sight and every sound…
(Love is in the Air by John Paul Young)
Before you met me
I was alright but things
Were kinda heavy
You brought me to life
Now every February
You’ll be my Valentine, Valentine…
(Teenage Dream by Katy Perry)
Lupercalia, the Roman fertility festival which early church leaders wanted to Christianize by combining it with a saint’s day, was held in honor of Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as Romulus and Remus, the twin founders of Rome who were believed to have been raised by a wolf. Members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the cave where Romulus and Remus were believed to have been raised by the wolf. The priests would sacrifice a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. As the article explains, “they would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.”
February 14th was declared “Valentine’s Day” by Pope Gelasius towards the end of the fifth century, but it did not become associated with romantic love until the Middle Ages. Written valentines began to appear around this time, and the first known valentine was a poem written in 1415 by the Duke of Orleans to his wife, while imprisoned at the Tower of London following the Battle of Agincourt. It is now held in the manuscript collection at the British Library in London. Our modern Valentine’s Day evolved from this, and is currently celebrated in the United States, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.
By 1900, printed cards began to replace handmade cards as the printing industry modernized. However, people often still make handmade cards as a special gesture. If you would like ideas for creating handmade cards to give to your special valentine or other loved ones, check out this Martha Stewart site. And also, check out our vast collection of romance novels at the McAllen Public Library!