Every year on the 14th of February is celebrated the feast of lovers, in honor especially of the Saint Valentine of Terni.
The festival is very old and has gained worldwide importance only in recent centuries. But in recent decades it obviously had a commercial power to make it one of the most important anniversaries of the year.
The gesture (or the most common custom) is the gift of chocolates to the person we love.. But of course there are many other customs, such as a love note, the gift of a plush heart, or any object that symbolizes our affection. However, chocolates are the most popular gift.
The Anglo-Saxon countries have given in the common imagination the idea that the most common gesture was also a love note, especially because it was emphasized by children’s cartoons or films, but also by some writings of shakespeare..
Obviously the gesture of the chocolates is very intimate and there are many gifts more appropriate and relevant to our feeling ..
There is no evidence of any link between St. Valentine’s Day and the rites of the ancient Roman festival Lupercalia, despite many claims by many authors.[notes 1] The celebration of Saint Valentine did not have any romantic connotations until Chaucer’s poetry about “Valentines” in the 14th century. Popular modern sources claim links to unspecified Greco-Roman February holidays alleged to be devoted to fertility and love to St. Valentine’s Day, but prior to Chaucer in the 14th century, there were no links between the saints named Valentinus and romantic love.
In Ancient Rome, Lupercalia, observed February 13–15, was an archaic rite connected to fertility. Lupercalia was a festival local to the city of Rome. The more general Festival of Juno Februa, meaning “Juno the purifier” or “the chaste Juno”, was celebrated on February 13–14. Pope Gelasius I (492–496) abolished Lupercalia. Some researchers have theorized that Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with the celebration of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and claim a connection to the 14th century’s connotations of romantic love, but there is no historical indication that he ever intended such a thing.[notes 2] Also, the dates do not fit because at the time of Gelasius I, the feast was only celebrated in Jerusalem, and it was on February 14 only because Jerusalem placed the Nativity of Jesus (Christmas) on January 6.[notes 3] Although it was called “Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary”, it also dealt with the presentation of Jesus at the temple. Jerusalem’s Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary on February 14 became the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple on February 2 as it was introduced to Rome and other places in the sixth century, after Gelasius I’s time.
Alban Butler in his Lifes of the Principal Saints (1756–1759) claimed without proof that men and women in Lupercalia drew names from a jar to make couples, and that modern Valentine’s letters originated from this custom. In reality, this practice originated in the Middle Ages, with no link to Lupercalia, with men drawing the names of girls at random to couple with them. This custom was combated by priests, for example by Frances de Sales around 1600, apparently by replacing it with a religious custom of girls drawing the names of apostles from the altar. However, this religious custom is recorded as soon as the 13th century in the life of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, so it could have a different origin