The history of Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day celebrates the love between people, cherishing smiles everywhere. (Photo/Wikimedia Commons)

Valentine’s Day is a romantic holiday that encourages admiration, confessions of love and stronger bonds between people. The special day is celebrated every Feb. 14, with flowers, candy and stuffed animals commonly exchanged. However, the history behind the holiday is much more than simply a love-filled day of flowers and chocolates. 

The exact history behind the holiday is uncertain, but common myths involving love are often associated with the holiday. 

One theory from the Catholic Church associates Valentine’s Day with a priest named Valentine, who served Rome in the third century. Emperor Claudius II, the emperor at the time, decided that single men made better soldiers than married ones. Thus, he banned marriage among young men to create a stronger army. However, Valentine disagreed with the injustice and defied the laws by continuing to perform marriages for Christian couples. Unfortunately, Claudius II discovered the incident and imprisoned Valentine. A legend states that he sent the first “Valentine’s” letter to a jailer’s daughter, being signed “From your Valentine.” The holiday honors the death of Valentine, a man who encouraged love, even when it was outlawed.  

Another widely accepted theory involves the Ancient Roman Festival of Lupercalia, which was held in the middle of February. The festival commemorated fertility and the coming of a new season — spring. Matchmaking traditions were common during this festival and incorporated aspects of dancing and lavish feasts. The special day celebrated romance and love, honoring the Roman fertility god, Lupercus. 

No matter where the holiday came from, it involved romance and created an atmosphere where loved ones would send appreciative messages to each other, similar to modern-day Valentine’s Day.

Nicholas, a sophomore at American Heritage, is excited to write with the Patriot Post for a second year. With a passion for writing and science, he often creates poetry or performs science research. His favorite hobbies are listening to different kinds of music, collecting albums, and figure skating. Outside of writing-related activities, he participates actively in extracurriculars ranging from Dead Poet’s Society to Key Club to tennis. He hopes to positively impact others through writing by promoting creativity and inspiring future generations!