In Ancient Rome, Lupercalia, observed February 13 through 15, was an archaic rite connected to fertility. Lupercalia was a festival local to the city of Rome. The more general Festival of Juno Februa, meaning "Juno the purifier "or "the chaste Juno," was celebrated on February 13-14. Pope Gelasius I (492-496) abolished Lupercalia.
It is a common opinion that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to Christianize celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia, and that a commemorative feast was established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, of those "... whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God," among whom was Valentine, was set for the useful day. Alternatively, William M. Green argues that the Catholic Church could not abolish the deeply rooted Lupercalia festival, so the church set aside a day to honor the Virgin Mary.
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