Feb 14, 2010

Valentine’s Day History


Cupid, according to ancient myths, went around shooting arrows at people to make them fall in love. His mother became very jealous of a beautiful young princess named Psyche and ordered him to make Psyche fall in love with someone horribly ugly. When Cupid went to obey, he found that Psyche was so beautiful that he pricked himself with one of his own arrows. They were married and, according to the story, were eventually able to live happily ever after.

The Romans and the Greeks celebrated a lover’s festival for young people on February 15 in honor of Cupid and Psyche. They drew names for partners and exchanged gifts, and often this resulted in courtship that led to marriage. Centuries later, when Christianity spread to Rome, the church tried to give meaning to this pagan festival. The pope changed the date from February 15 to February 14, which was already St. Valentine’s Day. Valentine was a common name among early Christians who had died for their faith, and at least two had been put to death on February 14. One was credited with having cured his jailer’s daughter of blindness, and on the day of his execution he’s said to have written a farewell latter to the girl, signing it “From your Valentine.”

Valentine’s Day continued as a lover’s day with many traditions and superstitions, and it equaled Christmas as a time of gift-giving. One of the oldest beliefs is that the birds always choose their mates on February 14. In many places girls supposed that the first fellow they would see on Valentine’s Day would be their husband-to-be, or at least look like him, and some would keep their eyes closed until they sensed that Mr. Right was coming into view. Exchanging Valentine’s cards became popular in the 1800s. Many are still decorated with pictures of Cupid and his arrows, and they are still signed “From your Valentine.”

Happy Valentine everyone!

-source anonymous

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