Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why Is It Called Valentine's Day?



Every February 14, across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from? Find out about the history of this centuries-old holiday, from ancient Roman rituals to the customs of Victorian England.

 Origins of Valentine's Day: A Pagan Festival in February

While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial--which probably occurred around A.D. 270--others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to "Christianize" the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

The tale of Cupid and Psyche (also known as Amour and Psyche or Eros and Psyche), is a story told by an old woman in Lucius Apuleius's novel, The Golden Ass, written in the 2nd century AD. Apuleius presumably used an existing myth as the basis for his story, since sculptural depictions of Cupid and Psyche have been found dating back to the Hellenistic period.

Cupid and Psyche



On February 14 around the year 278 A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.

Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.

To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270.

Legend also has it that while in jail, St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine."

For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death.

Gradually, February 14 became a date for exchanging love messages, poems and simple gifts such as flowers.



a. A love affair.
b. Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love.
c. A strong, sometimes short-lived attachment, fascination, or enthusiasm for something.
2. A mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful.
a. A long medieval narrative in prose or verse that tells of the adventures and heroic exploits of chivalric heroes.
b. A long fictitious tale of heroes and extraordinary or mysterious events, usually set in a distant time or place.
c. The class of literature constituted by such tales.
a. An artistic work, such as a novel, story, or film, that deals with sexual love, especially in an idealized form.
b. The class or style of such works.
5. A fictitiously embellished account or explanation.
6. Music A lyrical, tender, usually sentimental song or short instrumental piece.
7. Romance The Romance languages.
1. To invent, write, or tell romances.
2. To think or behave in a romantic manner.
verb Informal
1. To make love to; court or woo.
2. To have a love affair with.



Frederick Douglas
 Born Feb. 14, 1818
Died: Feb. 20, 1895

Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey) was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing. He stood as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves did not have the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. Many Northerners also found it hard to believe that such a great orator had been a slave.

Douglass wrote several autobiographies, eloquently describing his experiences in slavery in his 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, which became influential in its support for abolition. He wrote two more autobiographies, with his last, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, published in 1881 and covering events through and after the Civil War. After the Civil War, Douglass remained active in the United States' struggle to reach its potential as a "land of the free". Douglass actively supported women's suffrage. Without his approval, he became the first African American nominated for Vice President of the United States as the running mate of Victoria Woodhull on the impracticable and small Equal Rights Party ticket. Douglass held multiple public offices.

Douglass was a firm believer in the equality of all people, whether black, female, Native American, or recent immigrant, famously quoted as saying, "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."

Frederick Douglass once said, "I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress."

More about Frederick Douglass...

Much more...

 Born Feb 14, 1942
Age:   70 years old

Michael Rubens Bloomberg is an American business magnate, politician and philanthropist. He is currently Mayor of New York City. With a net worth of $25 billion in 2012, he is also the 10th-richest person in the United States. He is the founder and 88% owner of Bloomberg L.P., a financial data-services firm.

 Born Feb. 14, 1766
Died Dec. 29, 1834

The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus was a British scholar, influential in political economy and demography. Malthus popularized the economic theory of economic rent.

Malthus has become widely known for his theories about population and its increase or decrease in response to various factors. The six editions of his An Essay on the Principle of Population, published from 1798 to 1826, observed that sooner or later population gets checked by famine and disease.

 Born Feb 14, 1944
Age:  68 years old

Carl Bernstein is an American investigative journalist and author. While working with Bob Woodward at The Washington Post, the two did the majority of the most important news reporting on the Watergate scandal. These scandals led to numerous government investigations and the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon. For his role in breaking the scandal, Bernstein received many awards, and his work helped earn the Post a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1973.


Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

--Frederick Douglass

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