homepage logo

Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Feb 14, 2008

Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year that lovers look forward to when they wish to pledge their undying love to each other. It’s also the day that florists, confectioners and upscale restaurant and hoteliers look forward to with mixed anticipation and dread. If you’re in the market for roses on Valentine’s Day, you’ll pay more than you will any day of the year. Roses cost more in winter, of course, and as we all know, demand determines supply which determines price.

According to Wikipedia, numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. Until 1969, the Catholic Church formally recognized 11 Valentine’s Days.

Some sources say the Valentine linked to romance is Valentine of Rome, others say Valentine of Terni.

Valentine’s Day can be traced back to ancient Rome when Lupercalia, an archaic rite connected to fertility, without overtones of romance, was celebrated Feb. 15.

Plutarch, one of the greatest Italian poets to dwell on the subject of love, wrote:

“Lupercalia, of which many write that it was anciently celebrated by shepherds, and has also some connection with the Arcadian Lycaea. At this time many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy.”

The word Lupercalia comes from lupus, or wolf, so the holiday may be connected with the legendary wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus. Priests of this cult, luperci would travel to the lupercal, the cave where the she-wolf who reared Romulus and Remus allegedly lived, and sacrifice animals (two goats and a dog). The blood would then be scattered in the streets, to bring fertility and keep the wolves away from the fields.

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.

Valentine’s Day is the day that wives and husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends, should tell that special person that they care.

But do you think you don’t have a special someone to pay a little extra attention to this Valentine’s Day?

Think again.

Hospitals, retirement homes, and daycare centers are filled with people big, little, old and young, who may not feel that this Valentine’s Day is for them. You can change that, though. All it takes is buying a few valentines and writing anonymously and giving them to people who would otherwise dread seeing one more Valentine’s Day. It’s a simple act, but one that would mean a great deal to another person.