Valentines Day

by Jessi edited by Melissa

(February 14)  This is not an ancient Hellenic festival but a modern one that many Hellenics have given a new importance.  Valentines Day doesn’t need much description, as it’s well known and loved.  While the name derives from a Catholic saint about whom little is certain except that he perhaps lived during the time of Emperor Claudius II, the celebration appears to have come from the Roman festival of Lupercalia, celebrated between February 13 and 15 in pre-Christian times.  Legends associated with Valentine suggest that the church was attempting to Christianize a practice that people were loath to give up, a practice devoted to love, mating and fertility.  Plutarch describes Lupercalia by saying “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” (Life of Caesar, LXI, translation from the Perseus site [dead link]).

Give honor to love in all its forms—familial, friendship, sensual.  Let those around you know that you appreciate them and remind them of their place in your life and why you love them.  Give the Gods love at this time too—pour special libations or host a theme party/feast honoring Aphrodite and, especially, Eros, better known to most as his Latin name, Cupid.  The names of both Cupid and Eros derive from words meaning “lust”.  In these modern and self-conscious times, we need to be aware that the drive leading to procreation throughout nature is an important power, and it comes from the Gods.

For more information about Valentines Day, see: and

And for more information about Eros, see: and