I've been aware for a good while now, that most celebrations and holidays we have today, including the very Christian ones, all have some kind of ancient pagan origin. It's only logical, the pagan traditions were there loooong before the relatively new christian ones. (The reason why I find them so very interesting.)
It's quite entertaining to look around the web and in books and find original significations that most of the times would mortify the religious folk.
Now, we all know about Christmas, called Yule, a time to celebrate the Sun in the middle of Winter (later converted to Son=Jesus=Birth.)
And Easter=Ostara, feast of Eostre, bunny-goddess of Spring and fertility and Re-birth.
But I never thought of looking into Valentine's day. I was satisfied with the story I heard of a priest or monk called Valentine who married two lovers illegaly and got martyred. Is that how it went?? Anyway...this year I got a bit curious, and not surprisingly, February the 14th was celebrated long before any of those "Saints" walked the earth.
Lupercalia---an ancient Roman festival. A Lover's festival actually, that honored the Goddess Juno (or Hera) and the God of Nature Pan.
Cupid, son of Venus is also involved in the tradition of course and is very present even today, doing his thang.
Back then though, there were no silly chocolate box or red roses or Spas....no, it went straight to the point: On that day, young men and women drew names from a box, and thus picked a sexual partner for the year to come. How simple! And here we are trying to be all romantic and stuff.
I find it so funny that everytime you find something about ancient roman holidays, it's often like...Oh!! Today is the day to honor this or that God/Goddess/Creature, lets eat together, run around naked drinking wine and have lots and lots of crazy, wild sex in the woods!
Those Romans, they sure seemed like a fun-loving nation....almost Hippy in fact.
And to think that the image I had of them was the legions of dead-serious soldiers from the movies....