Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Monday, February 14, 2005
If you are celebrating Valentine's Day today, do thank the wolves.
Valentine's Day started with the Romans as a pagan tradition way back in the third century. The Romans who had sheep prayed to their god Lubercus to protect their flocks from marauding wolves. There was a celebration every February called Lupercalia to honour (and if the sheep were spared, to thank) Lubercus. During this celebration, a goddes , Juno Februata was also honoured. Names of girls were put in a box and drawn. The girls were then matched to boys and the pairs were expected to be together for at least a year.

When Christianity came, the practice was "christianized" somewhat. The Feast of Lupercalias was renamed St. Valentines Day. Instead of drawing names of girls, names of saints were drawn and people who draw the name had to emulate the life of that saint for a year. This wasn't much fun so in the 14th century, they drew girls names once again.

There were seven Valentines in the Christian lore. One was beheaded on February 14th. In 496, the Pope then, declared this day a Christain holiday. St.Valentine later was declared the patron saint of lovers. He settled lovers quarrels, among other things. On the anniversary of then death of one Valentine, lovers exchanged love messages in memory of one Valentine who was jailed and fell in love with the jailor's daughter. His letters were signed "From Your Valentine".
No roses were given or expensive jewellery. None. That came later after merchants jumped on the bandwagon. If you haven't ordered roses yet today, be prepared to pay a bomb for them.

The Europeans believed that February 14 is the date for birds to mate. Read what John Donne wrote:
So, you can safely say that Valentines Day is for the birds.