When learning English and learning a new language, it is always interesting to also learn about the culture surrounding it. Of course, Valentine’s Day is not really an American holiday, but it is one celebrated all over the country every February 14th. At Miami English Spot we want you to learn English in Miami but also learn about interesting Holidays!
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 Saint and why is he the Patron of love and friendship? St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.
One legend says that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers, he prohibited marriage for young men! Valentine, realizing the injustice and being a fan of love himself, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret! How romantic!
According to legend, Valentine went to prison, and he actually sent the first “valentine” letter himself after he fell in love with a young girl who visited him. Before his death, it is said that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine”! This is an expression we still use today, saying we are somebody’s “valentine” on this day.
Some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death, but others claim that the Christian church placed St. Valentine’s feast day in February to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia.
Lupercalia was the Roman festival of fertility, where all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn, and the city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. It was always a celebration of love!
Cupid, on the other hand, is always portrayed as part of Valentine’s Day, in cards and balloons, throwing arrows at lovers to make them fall in love. The Roman God Cupid has roots in Greek mythology, and was always the God of love!
All of these festivities, Gods and Saints have come together to create the Valentine’s Day celebration as we know it today! So know you know! Enjoy this special Day with friends and loved ones, and tell them all about it in a Conversation Club or English Club! A great conversation starter to practice your English!