Today is Saint Valentine's Day, also known as Valentine's Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine. It is observed on February 14 each year in many countries around the world. It is not an official holiday.
Its origins go back to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia,
which honored the gods Lupercus and Faunus, and the legendary
founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. Lupercalia festivities and
feasts are purported to have included the pairing of young women and
men. Men would draw women's names from a container and each couple
would be paired until next year's celebration.
It was not called "Valentine's Day" until a priest named Valentine
came along. Emperor Claudius handed down a decree that soldiers
remain single, believing that soldiers would be distracted and
unable to concentrate on fighting if they were married or engaged.
Valentine converted many guards to Christianity and defied the
emperor by secretly performing marriage ceremonies. As a result of
his defiance, Valentine was put to death on February 14. As
Christianity spread through Rome, priests moved Lupercalia from
February 15 to February 14 and renamed it St. Valentine's Day.
Cupid became associated with Valentine's day for another reason.
According to Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus, the
goddess of love and beauty. He caused people to fall in love by
shooting them with his magical arrows. He also fell deeply in love
with a mortal maiden named Psyche. Cupid married Psyche, but his
mother, Venus was jealous of Psyche's beauty and forbade her
daughter-in-law to look at Cupid. Psyche couldn't resist temptation
and sneaked a peek at her handsome husband. As punishment, Venus
demanded that she perform three tasks, the last of which caused
Psyche's death. Cupid brought Psyche back to life and the gods,
moved by their love, granted Psyche immortality.