Valentine's Day Folklore


Written by Crystal Kearns

February 14 is the day that people celebrate love, all over the world. Despite the Catholic stories of St. Valentine, it is believed that there is more to the history of the holiday.

Valentine’s Day, as we know it, is a Christianized pagan holiday known as Lupercalia; a fertility festival to honor the Roman god of agriculture. Taking place on February 15, the festival persisted of an order of Roman priests sacrificing a goat (for fertility), and a dog (for purification), before performing a blessing ritual on the skin of each animal so that the skin could be touched to all plants and women’s skin— this ritual promised fertility, and most women were happy to participate. Another tradition from these festivals were matchmaking practices, where bachelors would pick women’s names out of a lottery, and the pairs would be married.

After Lupercalia was outlawed for being against Christianity, Valentine’s Day was moved to February 14th and was religiously dedicated to celebrating St. Valentine, a martyr who was said to have died in jail, whose last words were a love letter to his jailor’s daughter. However, it didn’t become associated with love until the English poem, ‘Parliament of Foules,’ associated Valentine’s Day with choosing a mate. Since the popularization of stories like ‘Cupid,’ over the years Valentine’s Day has slowly become the commercial holiday we are all most familiar with.

When someone thinks of Valentine's Day, they might think of flowers, or specifically, roses. Roses symbolize the heart, and are received as a romantic flower– especially red roses, which symbolizes passion. Other colors can mean other things too, such as white roses meaning purity, yellow roses meaning wisdom and joy, and pink roses meaning gratitude and peace.

Some other plants to think of this Valentine’s Day are Nigella and Damiana (found in the 'Love Spell' altar candles), Tulsi (found in the 'Honey Rose and Cocoa Bean' tea toke), and Blue Cornflower. 

Nigella, also known as Love-in-the-Mist, brings protection, courage, and strength, as well as strengthening the connection between lovers. Damiana is a powerful aphrodisiac that strengthens the heart and tonifies the reproductive system, symbolizing sex and love. Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, signifies life and longevity, as well as purity and femininity. Finally, while Blue Cornflower represents fertility, it can also represent hope in love when worn by single people to attract love and romance.


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