Early pagan fertility celebrations—offering rites of passage to young men by allowing the opportunity to draw a teenage girl’s name from a box as a sexual companion for the year—ended when the church leaders attempted to moralize the holiday. Instead of offering worship to the pagan god Lupercus, the Church found a suitable patron saint in Saint Valentine.
Roman Emperor Claudius had Valentine beheaded in a.d. 270, but not before this patron saint of love had a profound impact on the world. Claudius was thought to be against marriage because married men were weak soldiers, and so he banned marriages in his empire. Valentine, understanding of the bonds of love and marriage, performed secret ceremonies uniting any men and women who wished to be married. Legend says that Valentine was imprisoned for this, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer, and signed his farewell note to her with the words, “From your Valentine” before he was beheaded for his acts.
The pagan day of celebration, originally on February 15, was changed, and St. Valentine’s day was celebrated on February 14. The celebration of love continues today as we send messages to those we care about. This age-old tradition began with one little note.
Click here for the main article, "Be Mine" With An Herbal Valentine.