Valentine's Day : the celebration of love ?

Valentine's Day: how and why?   
Valentine's Day is a very popular celebration and an opportunity for all lovers to celebrate their love and to give gifts to each other. In general, the couples exchange cards, flowers, chocolates, jewels or go to the restaurant to enjoy a good meal together. Valentine's Day, also called the celebration of love or the celebration of lovers, it’s a party that divides. Every year, as February 14 approaches, Valentine's Day, some shout for the commercial party when others enjoy a moment of sharing with the loved ones.

Valentine's Day : Pagan origins ?
Valentine's Day is said to have its origins in a pagan festival celebrated by the Romans: the Lupercales. On 15 February, the priests of Lupercus, the ancient Roman god of fertility, sacrificed goats and got drunk! Once the ritual was over, they walked the streets, scantily clad, to touch passers-by. History also tells us that during this pagan festival, women approached the priests to be touched. They believed that this small gesture would increase their fertility and facilitate childbirth. Other versions say that men whipped women with a leather strap to make them fertile.

Among the Greeks, the period between mid-January and mid-February was also dedicated to love and fertility.

Valentine's Day: Christian origins?
It was around 496 that a pope decided that Valentine's Day would be celebrated on 14 February, in order to counteract the Lupercalia of the Romans. Nevertheless, the pagan festival was organised in secret, with new rituals. On 14 February, unmarried women hid in the vicinity of their village and young men went in search of them. If a man found one, he had to marry her within a year. Even married men took part in this race to try to find "the most beautiful girl in the village" and find their pleasure on Valentine's Day night.

Christian history? Under Emperor Claudius II, who forbade marriages so that more men would be sent to war, Valentine's Day united couples in the greatest discretion. When the deception came to light, the emperor had him imprisoned and sentenced to death. While in prison, Valentin is said to have met the blind daughter of his jailer. It is said that just before his death, on 14 February, he managed to restore her sight and sent her a letter signed "Your Valentine". He was canonised in 1496, after the fall of the Roman Empire, and became the patron saint of fiancés and lovers. This is how February 14th came to be known as Valentine's Day. The story is a pretty one, but it is still just one of many legends. 

The latest legend dates back to the 14th century, this time in England. At the time, the English believed that 14 February was the day when birds paired up and lovers exchanged love notes, called "valentines". Although this is once again a theory, it has the merit of having become part of everyday life, even today. On Valentine's Day, many people send notes to their loved ones. It's a romantic holiday. 

Valentine's Day: How is it celebrated?
Originally, lovers exchanged love notes. The first Valentine's Day card is said to have been sent by Prince Charles of Orleans. Imprisoned in the Tower of London, he sent a poem to his sweetheart, Marie de Cleves, in 1440 and married her, who was 14 years old, 21 days after his release.

However, it was in the 19th century that the Valentine's Day phenomenon developed as we know it today. At that time, the love notes exchanged between the Valentine and his wife were created in the United States. They were illustrated with a host of symbols such as a Cupid, a heart and flowers, and the date of 14 February became an opportunity to celebrate one's partner. Could this be the start of the commercial era? Over the years, banknotes have been replaced by traditional greeting cards, which are flourishing all over the world, while a host of special Valentine's Day cards are appearing, as well as Valentine's Day menu ideas on the food side. Now that Valentine's Day has become a normal part of life, there are plenty of ways to celebrate it every year.

​​​​​​​Valentine's Day is a celebration for all couples, we give each other a little gift, we go out to restaurants where special menus are prepared for the occasion, we give each other flowers and chocolates. We even have a relaxing SPA day or a romantic weekend in a hotel to relive the first dates and share first impressions. Some people opt for a surprise and others organise the event together, there are no real rules for this.

And finally, here are some beautiful French love songs to share with your sweetheart:
Aimer – Romeo et Juliette
Mon dimanche soir – Grand corps malade
La vie en rose – Édith Piaf
Que je t’aime – Johnny
Si tu veux – de palmas
La maladie d’amour – Sardou

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