Valentine’s Day History

Reported by Emily Gray

February 14th is coming and that means Valentine’s Day. A romantic day filled with expressing love to that special someone and how much they mean to you. This day is normally associated with romantic gestures, chocolate, and roses, but not many people know the true origin and history of this joyous holiday. Valentine’s Day has origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia which was held in mid-February. This festival celebrated the coming of spring and fertility, along with many marriages. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day, but this holiday wasn’t celebrated as a day filled with romance until the 14th century. Common legends state that St. Valentine was a bishop under many popes but he often disobeyed the emperor’s rules and secretly married many couples to spare the man from war. This is why his feast day is now a love-based holiday.

The next appearance of Valentine’s was in the 1500s when people started to hand deliver and write formal notes to one another.

The holiday evolved again in the 1700s when commercially printed cards and notes started to be used by those who could afford them.

In the mid-1800’s Valentine’s day cards in the United States depicted Cupid for the first time. Cupid is the Roman god of love, desire, attraction, and affection. Cupid is was, and still is, associated with hearts and matchmaking.

Marketing in stores encouraged people to buy gifts on Valentine’s Day. This is where the chocolate and red roses come into effect. The red roses symbolize beauty and love and chocolate is sweet and just tastes good. Valentine’s is also the most common wedding anniversary in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. This day that started as a festival celebrating spring and marriage has now turned into a globally recognized holiday all about love.

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THE ADVOCATE
This is the online news site for James Madison High School.

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