Thursday, February 14, 2013
There are many versions for its origin. The most well-known says that once there was a Priest named Valentine who secretly helped young couples to get married in a time single men were considered better soldiers.
A variation of the tale says that Valentine was taken to prison for helping Christians to escape from Romans. Imprisoned and condemned to death, he fell in love for a young girl (probably a jailor’s daughter) and just before his death he sent he a letter which finished with the expression ‘from your Valentine”. This is considered by many the first Valentine greeting card, and even today the word “Valentine” is a synonym for a person who is loved by other.
But Valentine's Day is not just about lovers, so it's also common to send greeting cards to friends or family.
There were at least three Catholic saints named Valentine that could have inspired the legend and some people claims that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in February because Valentine’s birthday or death.
But its true origin was probably a pagan fertility festival called Lupercalia, which was celebrated in February 15th in honor of Faunus (or Pan), the god of agriculture. As many other festivities it was later Christianized and replaced by a Catholic celebration by Pope Gelasius at the end of the 5th century AD.
Valentine's Day in Brazil?
In Brazil we don’t celebrate the ‘Valentine’s Day’ in February. Actually, I’m not sure if Saint Valentine is a popular saint around here. But we do have ‘Santo Antonio’ (or "Saint Anthony”), who is considered the protector of lovers. The “Santo Antonio’s day” is celebrated in June 12th. The idea is basically the same, with lots of heart-shaped chocolates, greeting cards and romance, and it's 'commercial' name is "Dia dos Namorados" (something like "the Sweethearts' Day"). There’s a popular belief that Santo Antonio can help single women to find husbands, what makes him a very popular Catholic Saint.
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