Valentine’s Day: How it all began


Tamarra Newbern, News Reporter

When February rolls around each year, many people think about the one holiday that makes his or her heart flutter: Valentine’s Day. A day where sweethearts, family, and friends exchange cards, candies, flowers, and sweet kisses.

But do people know the origins of this holiday? It hardly ever crosses the minds of many individuals but still should be known. A lot has gone into the story behind Valentine’s Day.

What most people don’t usually know is that Feb. 15 was a fertility festival called Lupercalia during Ancient Roman times. Yet also during that time, the Roman Empire had turmoil during the third century, part of which was the aptly named Crisis of the Third Century.

The Crisis of the Third Century was a period in which the Roman empire nearly collapsed because of invasion, plague, and more.

According to a Huffington Post article, “The Bloody History of Saint Valentine,” “[Emperor Claudius II] made the unpopular decision to ban marriage among young people, believing that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers.” Claudius basically stated that marriage made them weak.

That’s where St. Valentine comes into the picture. At the time there were many priests who took the name Valentine, so it could be seen as quite interesting to know who exactly the day is actually named after.

The one who seems to be most accurate is the priest that decided to officiate marriages in secret because he thought it was a God-given right. This Valentine was beheaded and then deemed a martyr by the Church, under Pope Gelasius, for giving his life. Pope Gelasius also deemed St. Valentine’s Day as an actual holiday during the fifth century.

It wasn’t until the 1300s that the holiday was actually affiliated with love and romance, and it wasn’t until the 1500s that the valentine letter appeared.

Since then, the holiday has gone from just writing simple letters to purchasing flowers, chocolates, and dinners for a loved one.

In 2015, Americans spent a whopping $18.9 billion on Valentine’s Day alone, making it the second most popular and expensive holiday, right behind Christmas.

Although the idea of Valentine’s Day can be seen as lovely, in many other countries they celebrate the day in a way that can be seen as less expensive than America.

According to Marissa Willman, a writer with Travel Blog, “Rather than roses, friends and sweethearts exchange pressed white flowers called snowdrops” in Denmark.

In South Korea, it’s usually the woman’s job to buy their valentine chocolates, flowers and more – but the tables turn when March 14 comes around, as this is a holiday called “White Day,” where it’s the men’s turn to woo the women.

In South Africa, women were known to “wear their heart on their sleeve.” Women would pin their lover or the name of a love interest on their shirtsleeve.

Although Valentine’s Day is viewed as a day to show love and appreciation for your valentine and or family, it can also be seen as a day to appreciate the man who went against orders and married the people who were truly in love.