Love Is In The Air by Susan Lute
Posted by Susan
Our first stop is History.com and the Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February. While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.
How would you like to be one of those gals. Can you imagine being slapped with a blood soaked strip of goat’s hide and NOT getting pregnant that year? Next stop Wikipedia.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. It was first established by Pope Gelasius in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.
Of course then we have to take the gravel road to courtly love, a medieval European conception of nobly and chivalrously expressing love and admiration. Generally, courtly love was secret and between members of the nobility. It was also generally not practiced between husband and wife. Interesting! Courtly love began in the ducal and princely courts of Aquitaine, Provence, Champagne and ducal Burgundy, at the end of the eleventh century. In essence, courtly love was an experience between erotic desire and spiritual attainment that now seems contradictory. The term “courtly love” was first popularized by Gaston Paris in 1883, and has since come under a wide variety of definitions and uses, even being dismissed as nineteenth-century romantic fiction.
This is where romance writers come in. We are romancers, writers of romantic fiction. We romance our readers with stories about love, courtly or not, with happy-ever-after endings. So I’d like to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day from the Janes at See Jane Publish. What traditions do you have for celebrating this very special day?
About SusanAuthor, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.
Posted on February 12, 2012, in General and tagged celebrating, courtly love, February 14, fertility, history, midieval, origins pegan festival, Roman, romance, romancers, Susan Lute, traditions, Valentine's Day. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.