Valentine’s Day is coming up fast, on 14th February, and couples are busy preparing – or worrying about – how they are going to spend the day. A romantic meal for two perhaps, a fun activity, a stroll on the beach, watching the sunset? Valentine’s Day is a celebration for couples who have been together for just a few months, or maybe even 50 years. It celebrates love.
Whilst this celebration is a joyous occasion for those who are in a relationship, it can be one of the hardest days for those who are single and dreaming of finding their true love. Watching other happy couples celebrate their love for one another can make their heart ache with longing for the special someone they don’t have.
San Faustino: Festa dei single
What many people don’t realise however, is that there is not only a celebration for couples in February. In fact, the very next day, 15th February, is known as the feast of San Faustino and celebrates the festa dei single, or “Singles’ Day”.
Who then is San Faustino? San Faustino and his brother were both knights, born in Brescia in 2nd century AD. On meeting bishop Sant’Apollonio, they were converted to Christianity, baptised and went around Lombardy preaching to others on his orders. Refusing to worship or make sacrifices to Pagan gods, they were ordered to be put to death by the Emperor Hadrian. However, they survived many attempts such as being trapped in a cage with tigers and being burned alive. They were transferred to Milan, imprisoned and tortured and, after more attempts of execution, they were finally brought to Brescia and decapitated on 15th February.
So, why is San Faustino the saint of single’s day? Well, San Faustino was said to have acted as a sort of Cupid, good at finding a partner for young ladies and matchmaking happy couples for life. In fact, Faustino derives from “faustus” in Latin, meaning ‘opportune’ or ‘bringing luck’.
San Faustino is the perfect day to celebrate singledom. Having a dinner together or doing something special both helps to celebrate relationships with friends and is a consolation for those who are desperate to fall in love. Alternatively, San Faustino is a day where singles may try their hand at a blind date or maybe meet with someone they have matched with on an online dating app. It is a day filled with possibilities and a time to stay with loved ones, romantic or not.
While celebrated in many Italian cities, the day is, of course, especially celebrated in Brescia, the birthplace of San Faustino. They organise concerts, readings, activities for children and guides in the historic centre in order to trace back the saints. This celebration is called la fiera dei Santi Faustino e Giovita. There is also a large market selling items from all over the words, including food products, games, clothing, and more. It is a lovely occasion to walk around the beautiful historic centre of Brescia and take your mind off singledom for a morning or afternoon.
There are endless possibilities for this day which, though less known compared to Valentine’s Day, is no less significant. So, however you spend the day make sure to treat and take care of yourself because, whether in a relationship or not, you are extremely important.