By Sharon Wanga
Valentine’s Day originated from Rome, Italy in the 5th century.
It, however, had to wait until the 14th century for it to receive global acceptance and recognition as the date to celebrate love.
History shows that its roots come from the Lupercalia Festival, which was held in Rome to honour fertility.
Priests from an order called Luperci sacrificed a goat and a dog; skinned them and soaked their hides in blood, and then used them to gently “whip” young women, a tradition aimed at making them “more fertile”.
After that, the women’s names were put in a jar, and each eligible young man picked a name.
The new relationship could end in marriage, says the Catholic Education Resource Centre.
Pope Gelasius I would, in the 5th century, integrate the Lupercalia Festival with St. Valentine’s Day.
Saint Valentine was a third-century Roman saint, commemorated in Western Christianity on February 14.
Some accounts, however say, he was a Roman priest and physician who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Christians by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus about 270.
St. Valentine was buried on the Via Flaminia, and Pope Julius I reportedly built a basilica over his grave.
Although the Roman Catholic Church continues to recognise St. Valentine as a saint of the church, he was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969 because of the lack of reliable information about him.
History indicates St. Valentine’s showed heroic love for the Lord and the church, thus the date and month of love – February 14 – was named after him.