Secret Marriages And Lavish Celebrations
Saint Valentine’s Day, referred to as La Festa Degli Innamorati in Italy, has blossomed from its originally Christian and Pagan-Roman traditions. The Catholic Church specifically recognizes at least 3 different saints named Valentine, with one legend claiming that Saint Valentine (San Valentino) was a priest who served during the third century in Rome that performed marriages in secret for young lovers. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than married men and outlawed marriage for young men, San Valentino continued marrying the young couples in secret. Eventually, Claudius discovered his actions and ordered Valentine to be put to death.
The first testimony, in the form of a poem, that links Saint Valentine to romance and lovers dates back to 1415, written by Charles, Duke of Orleans is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library.
In Italy, there is more than the lovers’ celebration because Valentine is the patron saint of many villages where many communities celebrate with festivals and processions. In Terni and Bussolengo, large celebrations are held on the 14th of February.
In Sadali, Valentine is the patron saint of all newlyweds; however, the celebration is in October and last 2 - 3 days.
In Quero they celebrate by blessing a large number of oranges that are then tossed down a slope by the church of Saint Valentine.
In Padua, celebrations of family and children and the love between them are held by distributing blessed keys.
In Vico del Gargano, the entirety of the town is decorated with thousands of oranges. The statue of the San Valentino is also decorated with oranges and a procession with the statue and relics of the saint. It is said that drinking the juice of the blessed oranges brings joy and happiness.
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