In which country did Valentine's Day originate?

Holidays and Traditions
Valentine's Day
Paganism

Valentine's day--whose origins have nothing to do with Saint Valentine, and everything to do with pagan sex rituals--originated in one of the oldest Roman festivals, the festival of Lupercus, the Roman god of fertility. The festival was held on the ides (15th) of February in the Lupercal, where Romulus and Remus were said to have been suckled by a she-wolf.

On the day of the Lupercalia, Luperci (priests of Lupercus) gathered in the grove to sacrifice animals that were considered to have strong sexual instincts (and therefore appropriate as a sacrifice to the god of fertility), namely dogs and goats.

The 14th of February, in Roman times, was a date set aside for pagan 'love lotteries', whereby the names of young girls were written on strips of paper and placed into jars, from which the young boys would pick one. The chosen girl would be paired with the boy, for their mutual entertainment and pleasure, for the duration of the Lupercalia festival. The pairings often led to lasting relationships.

Later, the Catholic church, determined to put an end to the practice, sought a 'lovers saint' to replace Lupercus. As it turned out, Saint Valentine was the ideal candidate for their purposes. Valentine aided young lovers who went against Emperor Claudius II's decree banning marriage. Claudius, when he learned of this, had Valentine brought before him and tried to convert him to the Roman pagan gods, to save him from execution. Valentine refused to denounce Christianity, and actually tried to convert the mad emperor. He was executed for his folly.

There is a story that goes: "While Valentine was in prison awaiting execution, he fell in love with the blind daughter of the jailer, Asterius. Through his unswerving faith, he miraculously restored her sight. He signed a farewell message to her "From Your Valentine," a phrase that would live long after its author died."

During the Lupercian lottery (under penalty of mortal sin), Roman young men instituted the custom of offering women handwritten greetings of affection on February 14. The cards acquired St. Valentine's name: as Christianity spread, so did the Valentine card.

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