We all know that Valentine’s Day is about love, and that many corporations have turned it into an excuse to push chocolate, balloons, and flowers into the hands of men to give to women, but it’s so much more than that and we should all remember where it came from! While it’s not a Mexican (or even South American) holiday historically, most of the world has embraced it and at Mariachi Alegre de Tucson we want to help spread the love—without it involving cheap chocolates and over-priced roses.
Valentine’s Day is a celebration that began in the 5th century with roots tied to the Roman holiday of Lopercalia and the day is named for Christian martyrs Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni who were both deemed saints after martyrdom and both were buried on the Via Flaminia. February 14th features a feast day of Saint Valentine and is seen in the Lutheran Communion, the rank of commemoration in the Anglican Communion. The feast day was removed in the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints and was placed in local and national calendars since not much is actually know of Saint Valentine besides his burial location and date (February 14th) but some areas and religious groups still celebrate it in more religious fashions due to following older calendars.
The connections between Valentine’s Day and love stem from a few different places. First, the festival of Lupercalia occurs February 13th through 15th, and the purpose is to cleanse the area of evil spirits, releasing fertility and good health. This led way to the festival of cleansing named Februa, which is where February comes from. There is argument that the festival of Lupercalia may or may not have much (if anything) to do with Valentine’s Day, but the link between the festival and fertility keeps it in the related realm. A festival under the rule of Charles VI of France from the 1400’s took place on February 14th as well, featuring festivities for the royal court. Such activities included dancing, feasting, competitions in song and poetry regarding love, jousting, and more. There also accounts of poetry discussing love and mating from Chaucer writing about birds mating to Charles, Duke of Orléans writing to his wife, and John Paston. Similarly, Shakespeare wrote of Saint Valentine’s Day in Halmet in the words of Ophelia.
In areas of South America, Valentine’s Day is known as Dia del Amor y la Amistad, where people show love and appreciation for those around them. This includes gift exchanges between couples but also performing acts for friends and family that shows caring and a different kind of love. Some areas still put a large focus on romantic love and some add an element of anonymous gifts not unlike a Secret Santa around this time.
No matter how, when, or why you celebrate Valentine’s Day consider hiring a Mariachi band! Get your loved ones together and throw a party with beautiful music or have us serenade your wife, girlfriend, fiancé, or even someone you have not yet admitted your feelings to. Valentine’s Day has meant to many different things over the generations and it will probably continue to change, but help us keep it about all types of love by spreading the joy of Mariachi music!