Pourquoi la Saint-Valentin le 14 février ? Reviewed by Momizat on . Chaque année en février, ça recommence - pas comme les années bissextiles - : le 14 février, c'est la Saint-Valentin, la fameuse "fête des amoureux". Sans entre Chaque année en février, ça recommence - pas comme les années bissextiles - : le 14 février, c'est la Saint-Valentin, la fameuse "fête des amoureux". Sans entre Rating: 0

Pourquoi la Saint-Valentin le 14 février ?

Chaque année en février, ça recommence – pas comme les années bissextiles – : le 14 février, c’est la Saint-Valentin, la fameuse « fête des amoureux ». Sans entrer dans des considérations et débats portant sur le caractère commercial ou non de cette fête, penchons-nous sur ses origines, sur le pourquoi du comment. Alors, pourquoi la Saint-Valentin, tous les 14 février ?

Si notre calendrier actuel a fixé la St-Valentin le 14 février, il faut remonter à la Rome Antique pour comprendre pourquoi.
A la mi-février, les Romains rendaient hommage à Faunus Lupercus, le Dieu des bergers, des troupeaux et de la fécondité, lors de fêtes appelées les Lupercales, et qui duraient une quinzaine de jour. Cette période correspondait à la fin de l’année dans le calendrier romain.
Il s’agissait de rites païens qui commençaient par le sacrifice de boucs et de chèvres, puis les jeunes gens des familles nobles étaient enduit du sang de l’animal, pour symboliser la purification des bergers.
Une fois ces rites sacrificiels accomplis, s’ensuivait une course dans les rues de Rome : les prêtres et les jeunes gens se couvraient des peaux de chèvres et touchaient, voire fouettaient, les passants avec des morceaux de ces peaux. Les jeunes femmes s’approchaient volontiers, car être touchée ainsi était censé rendre fertile et faciliter l’accouchement. Cette solennité païenne honorait Junon, déesse romaine des femmes et du mariage, ainsi que Pan, le dieu de la nature.

En 494, cette fête assez brutale fut interdite par le Pape de l’époque, et fut remplacée par une fête symbolisant l’amour et la fécondité. Mais bien sûr, on était à cette époque bien loin de ce qui se pratique aujourd’hui. Au moins trois saints différents sont nommés Valentin, tous trois martyrs. Leur fête a été fixée le 14 février par décret du pape Gelase Ier, aux alentours de 498.
C’est « seulement » en 1496 que Valentin a été nommé officiellement – par le pape Alexandre VI – saint patron des amoureux. Cependant, le flou demeure sur le fameux Valentin, qui pourrait être l’empereur Claude II, Valentin évêque de Terni ou encore Valentin de Réthie.
C’est donc bien à la fin du Moyen Age que l’on commença à fêter véritablement la St-Valentin : les aristocrates anglais pratiquaient le « valentinage » qui consistait à former des couples au hasard, et à en faire de faux époux, le temps d’une journée. Ils devaient s’offrir des petits cadeaux et échanger des mots doux, les « valentines ».
A noter d’ailleur que dans les pays anglo-saxons, la saint-Valentin est aussi la fête des amis, qui s’échangent des lettres.
La coutume s’est ensuite généralisée à toute la Grande-Bretagne, puis s’est propagée aux Etats-Unis et dans le reste de l’Europe après la seconde guerre mondiale.

A noter enfin que l’Eglise catholique a modifié en 1969 la liste des saints en ôtant les saints plus légendaires ou folkloriques… dont Valentin faisait partie. Ce faisant il a cessé d’être officiellement et religieusement fêté.

Les origines de la Saint-Valentin ne sont pas si claires que ça, mais ce que l’on sait c’est qu’elle fait couler de l’encre, et qu’elle compte à peu près autant de détracteurs que de partisans !

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