Every year, people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day. But how did this special Day come about? No one knows, but there are many theories about its origins. Here, we’ll explore some of those theories and discuss why we have this holiday today.

How Did Valentine’s Day Begin?

Valentine’s Day is a mishmash of different traditions which all came together. In ancient Rome, the festival was celebrated on February 14th. It was a pagan holiday to honor Lupercalia, the god of fertility and love. During this festival, young women would offer themselves sacrifices to ensure good crops and fertility for their husbands.

Shortly after Christianity spread in Europe, Pope Gelasius declared that Lupercalia should be held on February 13th instead of the 14th so as not to interfere with Valentine’s Day (which he had just invented). So if you were wondering how we got from sacrificing virgins on the 14th to exchanging cards or flowers with our significant others besides us at dinner—that’s your answer!

Who Was St. Valentine?

One of the most popular stories about St. Valentine is that he was a priest who performed marriage ceremonies for soldiers and their loved ones, which was illegal at the time (because Christians weren’t allowed to marry). When Claudius II learned of this, he had Valentine arrested and imprisoned.

After his arrest, Valentine wrote letters to jailors asking them to send food and clothing for his fellow male and female prisoners. He also delivered these messages by signing them with “From Your Valentine.” Unfortunately, these messages were intercepted by guards who reported them back to Claudius II. As punishment for breaking laws against Christian marriage ceremonies, Valentine was executed on February 14th — which is now celebrated as Valentine’s Day.

Did Paganism Influence Valentine’s Day?

Did paganism influence Valentine’s Day?

Perhaps. The Roman celebration of Lupercalia took place on February 15th and was said to ensure fertility and prosperity. In essence, it was a fertility festival. The custom involved young women wearing a bridal crown made of flowers and offering the priests gifts in exchange for their blessing. If a woman did not have a partner at the time of Lupercalia, she would make offerings to Juno Lucina (goddess of childbirth), who supposedly helped her find one. It’s believed that this tradition is where we get our modern Day Valentine’s Day symbols: hearts as symbols for love and roses as symbols for beauty and romance.

Did Valentine’s Day Begin with Christianity?

Did Valentine’s Day Begin with Christianity?

It depends on what you mean by “begin.” Some trace it back to the 4th century when Christians began celebrating February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day—the feast day of an obscure saint who was martyred for refusing to renounce his faith in Christ. But it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that this holiday became widely celebrated, after Pope Gelasius I declared in 496 AD that February 14 would be a day for lovers to exchange love tokens and declare their undying devotion (read: get married). Most historians believe Valentine’s Day began as a way for couples to express their romantic feelings toward each other without getting married—something that would have been frowned upon at the time!

A Christian Holiday in the Middle Ages.

It wasn’t until the Middle Ages, when Christianity dominated Europe, that Valentine’s Day began to be celebrated on February 14. According to legend, St. Valentine was a priest who lived during the third century CE and served as a doctor for Emperor Claudius II Gothicus.

St. Valentine’s Day was celebrated by young people who would exchange love notes signed with “your valentine” before going on dates with their sweethearts; it became an annual holiday during which couples would engage in romantic activities like dancing at parties or exchanging gifts of flowers or jewelry to show affection for one another.

Valentine’s Day, Modern Romance, and Shakespeare.

February 14th is the Day that many associates with Valentine’s Day. However, it’s more historically accurate to say that the holiday itself is set on February 10th because that’s when St. Valentine was killed by being beaten and stoned to death for marrying Christian couples in secret at night. This led to some of his admirers making up a story about him being able to work miracles, which included reviving a young girl who had died after taking poison (this legend inspired Shakespeare’s play).

So while Shakespeare may have been born on this date, he didn’t make up any of these stories or legends himself!

St. Valentine’s Day is a mishmash of different traditions which all came together.

St. Valentine’s Day is a mishmash of different traditions which all came together. There’s no clear origin for a holiday, but the first recorded Valentine’s Day card was sent in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans. The card took advantage of early printing technology to create a miniature work of art that included romantic poetry and flowery language—perfect for the occasion!

It became a commercial holiday in the 19th century when Americans started sending valentines as gifts to their loved ones. Today, we still exchange cards with our significant others (and anyone else we care about), although you don’t have to wait until February 14th if you want to make someone happy with something more lasting; there are plenty of other thoughtful ways to show your appreciation throughout the year!

So, the next time you propose to your sweetheart, remember that your proposal could be much older than you think. But, even if it isn’t, there’s something romantic about the fact that this holiday has been around since before Jesus Christ was born.

 

Do you love yourself?

Pucker up!