The practice is said to come from an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia
Pope Gelasius declared the day as Valentine's Day because it is claimed he wanted to 'Christianize' the Pagan fertility festival Lupercalia
, which was commemorated the next day.
How he became the patron saint of lovers remains a mystery, but one theory is that the church used the day of St Valentine's martyrdom to Christianise the old Roman Lupercalia
, a pagan festival held around the middle of February.
Like the ancient Romans celebrated Lupercalia
on what's now St Valentine's Day.
It's thought the tradition came from the Roman festival of health, vitality and Lupercalia
- which was celebrated in February.
It's also customary for women in South Africa to wear their hearts on their sleeves on February 14; women pin the names of their love interest on their shirtsleeves, an ancient Roman tradition known as Lupercalia
Valentine's Day is an old tradition thought to have originated from a Roman Festival known as Lupercalia
, according to History.
Now celebrated in a number of countries around the world, and also known as Carnival, Mardi Gras is believed to have its roots in ancient pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, such as the Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia
The original Roman festival was Lupercalia
and involved naked young men whipping young women in the streets to make them fertile.
Monday: Celebrate an alternative Valentine celebration at Segedunum Roman Fort The day after Valentine's Day Segedunum will be celebrating the Lupercalia
Festival - an alternative Roman Valentine celebration - whose origins are linked to goats, shepherds and wolves.
There are other claims that the Christian church may have decided to replace the pagan celebration of Lupercalia
English 18th-century antiquarians Alban Butler and Francis Douce, noting the obscurity of Saint Valentine's identity, suggested that Valentine's Day was created as an attempt to supersede the pagan holiday of Lupercalia