Valentine’s Day

The True Origins of Valentine’s Day Might Astound You— What You Should Know
You’re undoubtedly thinking about flowers, chocolate, and heart-eye emojis for Valentine’s Day, but before you start making Valentine’s Day cards and looking for the greatest presents for your Valentine (and Galentine!), you might be wondering why we celebrate on February 14. While it’s easy to think of Valentine’s Day as a contemporary holiday dedicated only to gratifying our shopping and sweet desires, this day of heart-shaped merriment has an ancient—and fascinating—origin story or rather, mystery.
So, how did February 14th become known as the “Day of Love”? And where did Valentine’s Day come from, and why have its love elements remained to this day? And, while we’re at it, where did the term “Valentine” originate from?
As it turns out, no one knows the exact origin of this historic festival, and none of the hypotheses are totally consistent. Even historians disagree on the specific rituals that inspired the modern-day festival.
But we’re revealing everything we know about the subject, including the enigmatic origins of Valentine’s Day and its fascinating history. Its backstory, albeit unconfirmed, is incredibly dark and even violent. Strange customs, pagan ceremonies, and gruesome executions occur. If you’re not afraid of heights, you’ll love learning about all we’ve gathered here. Who can say? It could even inspire your Valentine’s Day greetings!
What is the origin of the term Valentine?
Of course, the day is named for St. Valentine, as we all know. But why is that? Who is this enigmatic Valentine?
According to The New York Times, the love-filled celebration may be based on the union of two men. According to NPR, Emperor Claudius II killed two Valentines on February 14 (although in different years). It is said that the Catholic Church founded St. Valentine’s Day to honour these individuals, whom they considered martyrs. Furthermore, one of these men, Saint Valentine of Terni, may have been covertly conducting marriages for Roman troops against the emperor’s desires, making him a proponent of love in certain views.
Another storey is about the custom of writing love notes to your Valentine. St. Valentine is claimed to have written the first “valentine” message to a young girl he trained and fell in love with while imprisoned for the offences listed above. According to The History Channel, before his death, he wrote her a letter inscribed “From your Valentine”, which has since become a popular phrase.
Others say that Pope Gelasius I established St. Valentine’s Day to replace the old Roman holiday Lupercalia, a fertility feast devoted to the Roman god of agriculture, Faunas, and Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
The feast of debauchery, which took place at the same time, involved a ceremony in which an order of Roman priests raced nude through the streets, “gently slapping” women with the blood-soaked skins of sacrificial animals (yes, really), believing that it increased fertility. Following the flagellation was a ritual in which men chose women’s names at random from a jar to choose who would stay together for the following year or marry if they fell in love.
According to the Times, the late Jack B. Oruch, an English professor at the University of Kansas, had a different theory: through research, he determined that the poet Geoffrey Chaucer first linked love with St. Valentine in his 14th-century works “The Parlement of Foules” and “The Complaint of Mars”. As a result, Oruch thought Chaucer was responsible for the modernization of Valentine’s Day. (At the time of Chaucer’s writing, February 14 was also considered the first day of spring in Britain, as it signalled the beginning of bird mating season—ideal for a Valentine’s Day party.)
What is the significance of Valentine’s Day?
Whether or not Chaucer is properly acknowledged, it is known that he and colleague writer Shakespeare popularised the day’s romantic connections. People soon started writing and sending love letters to commemorate Valentine’s Day, and by the early 1910s, an American firm that would one day become Hallmark began distributing its more formal “Valentine’s Day cards”. Flowers, chocolates, jewellery, and other items soon followed, and the rest, as they say, is history.
On Valentine’s Day, what role does Cupid play?
It’s not only St. Valentine’s Day! Cupid, the winged new born boy frequently found on Valentine’s Day cards and merchandise, is another emblem of this love-filled occasion, and it’s simple to see why. Cupid was the son of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, in Roman mythology. He was famed for throwing arrows at both gods and mortals, leading them to fall instantly in love. While it’s unknown when Cupid was included into the Valentine’s Day myth, it’s evident why.

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