Origin of Valentines Day

Larkin Flemming, Staff Writer

When you think of Valentine’s Day, you most likely think of chocolates, hearts, roses, and love. Valentine’s Day takes place on February 14th each year. It is a holiday that has become widespread all over the world to symbolize love and romance. Children learn and celebrate Valentine’s Day as early as kindergarten, by passing around treats for students in the class.  We all know that on this holiday people exchange gifts and candy with their loved ones, but what is the deeper meaning of this holiday, and how did it become to be such an affectionate holiday?

According to history.com, the origin of Valentine’s Day begins with the Legend of St. Valentine. However, there are a lot of controversies regarding who the actual St. Valentine was due to the fact that there were three Valentines that were sainted by the Catholic Church.

The article, readers digest discusses the origin of Valentine’s Day beginning with the first known Valentine sainted by the church. This Valentine is said to have been rebellious and demanded to Emperor Claudius II that young men have roles to serve in the military rather than marry. What is ironic about this is that this Valentine would continuously marry his lovers without anyone knowing. What is also ironic about this story is that St. Valentine demanded against marriage, yet Valentine’s Day, if anything, is the most romantic day of the year.

The second St. Valentine is known for helping Christian prisoners escape jails, but he was eventually caught and brought to jail himself. He falls in love with the daughter of the man who threw him in prison and tries to convert her entire family to Christianity. This was his last wish before he died.

The third St. Valentine was a Catholic bishop in Terni. There is not much else to be said about this Valentine because his story got tangled in history and there isn’t much evidence to prove what he did to potentially create this widespread holiday.

All three of these Valentine’s Day saints were said to be martyred and all died approximately on February 14th. This fact makes the holiday appear a little more tragic than exciting.

Valentine’s Day originated with connections to Paganism with festivities such as Lupercalia. This festival was dedicated to Roman Gods Faunus, Romulus, and Remus, and focused more on celebrating fertility rather than love and affection. Somehow this holiday transformed into Valentine’s Day which spread to areas of Christianity and even became one of the most celebrated holidays during the Victorian Era.

So technically this holiday didn’t originate around romance and affection, but at the same time, it kind of did in the sense that all of the Valentine Saints felt strongly about love even if it was secret. Since 278 AD, this holiday has been celebrated. It is currently the thirteenth most popular holiday in the United States. However, now it is celebrated much differently than Lupercalia. Instead of focusing on making women more fertile, it is centered around love. Each year millions of cards and candy are purchased and given to loved ones all around the world. This isn’t what you think of when you think of Valentine’s Day.