History of Valentine’s Day

How people currently view Valentine’s Day is drastically different from how the holiday was viewed throughout history

Katelyn Krosky, Social media editor

February 14 marks Valentine’s Day. A day where lovers are supposed to share affection and appreciation for each other. However, this holiday has a long history and the view of it has undoubtedly changed greatly. 


The original roots of Valentine’s Day go back to the Roman festival Lupercalia. This festival was meant to celebrate the coming of spring. It consisted of men and women being matched by lottery and included fertility rites. At the end of the 5th century, the Roman pope, Pope Gelasius I made celebrating the Lupercalia festival forbidden, and Valentine’s Day is often known as taking its place. 

Additionally, the name Valentine’s Day itself has an unknown history. The idea of where it really came from has multiple perspectives. First, Valentine’s Day is thought to be named after a priest named Valentine, who was martyred in about 270 CE by the Roman emperor Claudius II Gothicus. The priest is thought to have signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter and new friend. On the other hand, it is sometimes thought to come from St. Valentine of Terni, who was a bishop, or two saints who were one person. It is also possible that St. Valentine went against the emperor’s order and married couples in secret to protect their husbands from war. As a result, Valentine’s Day is connected to love. 

Source: Britannica 

Common Traditions: 

Cupid is known to be the Roman god of love and is traditionally surrounded by hearts as a seat of emotion. Birds began to be resonated with Valentine’s Day because the avian mating starts mid-February. The idea of formal messages and “valentines” started in the 1500s. These cards were commercially printed by the 1700s and in the United States by the 1800s.

Source: Britannica

By Chloe Miller

Modern Notion: 

Throughout history, the idea of Valentine’s Day is usually associated with romantic relationships. This, however, is not always true today. Many people expand this idea of spreading love to multiple people around them, whether or not they are in a romantic relationship. 

Valentine’s Day can be spent with friends or family in any way. To junior Helen Springer, “Valentine’s day is a day my parents get me chocolate,” it also, “shows appreciation for the people you love, not only romantic relationships,” Springer said. 

In addition to this, Valentine’s Day still remains a day to state one’s love, despite not being in a romantic relationship. 

On Valentine’s Day, I usually tell people that I love them,” said junior Ashlyn Hogg.

Though the idea of Valentine’s Day has changed and grown since the Lupercalia festival, it still remains one of America’s most iconic holidays.

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