It’s one of the most romantic days of the year, filled with chocolate, love potions, and, if we’re being honest… Snogging. But when did this madness start? What made people, Muggle and Wixen alike, decide that February 14th was the day to publicly declare their love for their mate?
Valentine’s Day actually dates back to the 14th century – which makes it appropriate that it’s held on the 14th of the month! The Romans held a festival each year known as Lupercalia. This festival was a celebration of spring, which included fertility rights and conducting a lottery to pair women with men. How barbaric! This practice continued until the 5th century, when Pop Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day. With the new name, came a new meaning, and it became the romantic, chocolate-fest we know and love today.
The day is said to be named for a priest who was martyred around the year 270 CE by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus. The story goes that the priest had a certain friendship with his jailer’s daughter (who he’d also, some say, healed from blindness). He wrote her a letter, and signed it “from your Valentine.” Others say the day is named for St. Valentine of Terni, who was a bishop. But it’s entirely possible that those two are actually the same person. Another legend says that St. Valentine went against the emperor’s orders, secretly marrying couples to save the husbands from going into war. And it is because of this, that the day became associated with love.
The sending of cards, or Valentines started around the 16th century. And by the 18th century, formal cards were being printed and used. Most often, the cards depict Cupid, who is the Roman god of love. Hearts also became a staple of representation, along with birds. Most often, people will give candy and flowers, usually red roses, as symbols of love.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated most in the United States, but in Australia, Britian and Canada as well. Not to mention Argentina, Mexico, France, and South Korea. In the Phillippines, it’s common to be married on that day, and there are mass weddings including hundreds of couples on that day.
Here at Hogwarts, we’ve got our own traditions. The Hearty Party has been an event to look forward to for several years now, and Rose Grams and Cupid’s Corner also serve to make this holiday a lot more fun. So spoil that special someone with some candy (chocolate frogs go a long way!) or some charmed & charming gifts!