The History of Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2024

The History of Valentine’s Day

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From us to you, Happy Valentine's Day!
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Today is the day of love, a.k.a. Valentine’s Day. Every year on the 14th of February, people celebrate with their loved ones, most often with a significant other, by going out on dates to a nice meal, dinner, and so much more. People give gifts of flowers, chocolate, stuffed animals, and more. The more romantic, the better! But, amongst all of these commercialized celebrations, do you know the history behind the holiday? Let us deep dive together to learn a bit more about this day!

Did you know Valentine’s Day is actually named after a saint?

The origin of the day is actually a bit of a mystery still, especially how the day started as a day named for a saint and became what we know it to be today. There are three saints who stood in the Catholic Church named Valentine or Valentinus. All three were martyred and there are theories suggesting connections to the day for all three men or just one of them. One legend suggests one of the Saint Valentines served the church as a priest in third century Rome. At the time, leaders found that single men made for better soldiers, so Emperor Claudius II banned marriage for young men. This priest continued to perform marriage ceremonies as he believed this went against the notion of love. His death was ordered by the Emperor over this.

Others argue that specifically Saint Valentine of Terni is the namesake of the day.

Even though no one directly knows the origin of the day, there is an understanding of the connections it as to Catholicism and Paganism. The day is possibly connected to Paganism due to when it is celebrated. The pagan celebration of Lupercalia was the celebration of fertility and several Roman gods. This celebration fell on February 15th. A part of the celebration focused on expanding women’s fertility and often involved marriage ceremonies.

No matter what the day started as, one thing has continued through each theory of origin and meaning, love. The theme of love has been a constant, likely due to our awareness of what Valentine’s Day is now. We see the day as a day to celebrate life and happiness with the ones you love most.

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