- Valentine's Day: Origin and preceding traditions of Valentine's Day, its evolution through the years.
A day to celebrate love and friendship, but do you know its origin? Do you know why we celebrate Valentine’s Day?
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Valentine’s Day Origin
Its origin is not exactly known, but Valentine’s Day celebrations date back to ancient Rome. One of its origins is the Lupercalia; held on February 15th in Rome. Where a Luperci congregation’s priest sacrificed a goat, and with its skin, flogged women in the street to purify and encourage their fertility.
It also comes from the celebration of Juno Februata; dedicated to the Roman goddess of purification and fertility. It started between February 13th and 15th, and it was celebrated for the whole month.
Young men used to choose their partner by taking a piece of paper from a box with a woman’s name written on it. Then, they engaged in erotic games and stayed together temporarily, often ending in successful marriages.
Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?
For decades, people celebrated these pagan traditions until the church replaced them with the priest Saint Valentine’s story.
In the 3rd century in Rome, Emperor Claudius II banned marriage from young men to join the army. Saint Valentine opposed this ban and started marrying couples in love, in secret.
When he was discovered, he was sentenced to death on February 14th of the year 270; the date is taken to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
How do we celebrate it?
Every country has its own way of celebrating Valentine’s Day. In Latin America, it is widespread to gift cards, candy, and chocolate to friends to thank them for their friendship.
Couples give each other chocolate, flowers or have a nice romantic dinner. A shared tradition among some Latin American countries is to provide anonymous gifts to that special person as a secret admirer.
In Central America is common to have secret friend exchanges, giving each other chocolates and candies.
Valentine’s Day In Latin America
According to Statista, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Colombia, celebrate it the most.
Mexico is the largest consumer of products during Valentine’s Day. Countries like Argentina and Colombia celebrate their respective boyfriend and girlfriend’s day (September 20) and the Day of Love and Friendship (September 21).