La Festa degli Innamorati
Not everybody probably knows that:
Saint Valentine (in Latin, Valentinus) is a widely recognized third-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14 and associated since the High Middle Ages with a tradition of courtly love. Nothing is reliably known of St. Valentine except his name and the fact that he died on February 14 on via Flaminia in the north of Rome. It is uncertain whether St. Valentine is to be identified as one saint or two saints of the same name. Several different martyrologies have been added to later hagiographies that are unreliable. For these reasons this liturgical commemoration was not kept in the Catholic calendar of saints for universal liturgical veneration as revised in 1969. But the “Martyr Valentinus who died on the 14th of February on the Via Flaminia close to the Milvian bridge in Rome” still remains in the list of officially recognized saints for local veneration. Saint Valentine’s Church in Rome, built in 1960 for the needs of the Olimpic Village, continues as a modern, well-visited parish church.
It seems that Valentine’s Day was first created as an attempt to supersede the pagan holiday of Lupercalia (mid-February in ancient Rome).
Then it was associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chauser in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“). Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
E voi celebrate la Festa degli Innamorati? (Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?)