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Реферат St. Valentine's Day is the traditional day on which lovers. The day's associations with romantic love. History of Valentine's Day. The influential Gnostic teacher Valentinius: versions of these legends. Valentine's Day in USA and other cultures.


Тип работы: Реферат. Предмет: Культурология. Добавлен: 31.01.2010. Сдан: 2010. Уникальность по antiplagiat.ru: --.

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St. Valentine's Day

St. Valentine's Day falls on February 14, and is the traditional day on which lovers in certain cultures let each other know about their love, commonly by sending Valentine's cards, which are often anonymous. The history of Valentine's day can be traced back to an obscure Catholic Church feast day, said to be in honor of Saint Valentine. The day's associations with romantic love arrived after the High Middle Ages, during which the concept of romantic love was formulated.

The day is now most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines." Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, the practice of hand writing notes has largely given way to the exchange of mass-produced greeting cards. The Greeting Card Association estimates that, world-wide, approximately one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association also estimates that women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

History of Valentine's Day

February fertility festivals The association of the middle of February with love and fertility dates to ancient times. In the calendar of Ancient Athens, the period between mid January and mid February was the month of Gamelion, which was dedicated to the sacred marriage of Zeus and Hera.

In Ancient Rome, the day of February 15 was Lupercalia, the festival of Lupercus, the god of fertility, who was represented as half-naked and dressed in goat skins. As part of the purification ritual, the priests of Lupercus would sacrifice goats to the god, and after drinking wine, they would run through the streets of Rome holding pieces of the goat skin above their heads, touching anyone they met. Young women especially would come forth voluntarily for the occasion, in the belief that being so touched would render them fruitful and bring easy childbirth.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (1908), at least three different Saints Valentine, all of them martyrs and all quite obscure, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of February 14:

a priest in Rome who suffered martyrdom in the second half of the 3rd century and was buried on the Via Flaminia.

a bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) also suffered martyrdom in the second half of the 3rd century and was also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location than the priest.

a martyr in North Africa, about whom little else is known.

The connection between St. Valentine and romantic love is not mentioned in any early histories and is regarded by secular historians as purely a matter of legend (see below). The feast of St. Valentine was first declared to be on February 14 by Pope Gelasius I in 496. There is a widespread legend that he created the day to counter the practice held on Lupercalia of young men and women pairing off as lovers by drawing their names out of an urn, but this practice is not attested in any sources from that era.

In the 19th century, relics of St. Valentine were donated by Pope Gregory XVI to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland, which has become a popular place of pilgrimage on February 14.

In 1969, as part of a larger effort to pare down the number of saint days of purely legendary origin, the Church removed St. Valentine's Day as an official holiday from its calendar.


The influential Gnostic teacher Valentinius was a candidate for Bishop of Rome in 143. In his teachings, the marriage bed assumed a central place in his version of Christian love, an emphasis sharply in contrast with the asceticism of mainstream Christianity. Stephan A. Hoeller assesses Valentinius on the subject: "In addition to baptism, anointing, eucharist, the initiation of priests and the rites of the dying, the Valentinian Gnosis mentions prominently two great and mysterious sacraments called "redemption" (apolytrosis) and "bridal chamber" respectively".

Medieval era Swedish calendar showing St Valentine's Day 14 February 1712 The first recorded association of St. Valentine's Day with romantic love was in the 14th century in England and France, where February 14 was traditionally the day on which birds paired off to mate. This belief is mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer's Parlement of Foules (1381)

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