The History of Valentine’s Day

The History of Valentines Day

Ali Spence, Videographer

Valentine’s Day is a day believed to be for significant others to show each other affection by giving gifts like chocolate, roses, teddy bears, candy, etc. But where does this holiday come from? How did this holiday come about? The holiday has origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February. The festival, which celebrated the coming of spring, included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day. It came to be celebrated as a day of romance from about the 14th century. One legend says the day had taken its name from a priest who was martyred about 270 CE by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus. The priest signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and healed from blindness. Other things say it was St. Valentine of Terni, a bishop, for whom the holiday was named, though it is possible the two saints were actually one person. Another common legend states that St. Valentine defied the emperor’s orders and secretly married couples to spare the husbands from war.

Formal messages started in the 1500s. Valentine’s Day cards started to be manufactured in 1700s.Valentines commonly believe Cupid, the Roman god of love, along with hearts, traditionally the seat of emotion. Because it was thought that the avian mating season begins in mid-February, birds also became a symbol of the day. The day is most popular in the United States, Britain, Canada, and Australia, and it is also celebrated in other countries, including Argentina, France, Mexico, and South Korea. In the Philippines, it is the most common wedding anniversary, and many weddings of hundreds of couples are very common on that date. In today’s society, this holiday has expanded to expressions of love to family and friends. Most elementary school children exchange cards and candy on this day. Who are you going to share this special day with?