Valentine’s Day: A History

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Valentine’s Day: A History

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Valentines Day…the day that encourages people to express their true feelings to love ones, typically through a letter, flowers, or chocolates. However, how did the most romantic holiday come to be? While the origin of Valentine’s Day is clouded with mystery, there are few ideas on where it had originated.

Ancient Rome

According to historians, the origin of Valentine’s Day probably began in Ancient Rome. Lupercalia was a fertility ritual that was conducted annually on February 15. Men would sacrifice a dog or goat, and then use the skin to physically hit women. It was believed to rid of any evil spirits and bring fertility to the town.

St. Valentines

The Lupercalia festival survived the uprising of Christianity, but was expelled in the 5th century by Pope Gelasius l, who supposedly replaced it with a day to celebrate Valentine’s death.

Who exactly was Valentine’s? Well there are many legends surrounding him.

One legend suggest that Valentine was a priest who broke Emperor Claudius ll law that prohibited marriage for young men in his army. Valentines disagreed with this law and would arrange secret marriages for young couples.

Another legend tells the story of a Christian Priest who had been imprisoned. He ended up falling in love with the jailer’s daughter and before being executed, wrote a letter signed “from your Valentine.”

Valentine’s Day, however, wasn’t considered romantic until the Middle Ages and Renaissance. It’s believed that the idea of courtly love was beginning to spread, which influenced how the day should be celebrated. In the U.S, the industrial revolution that occurred in the mid-19th century, allowed the production of cheap consumer goods such as Cadbury’s heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, Hershey’s Kisses, and Hallmark Valentine’s Day cards- all of which are still used in today’s Valentine’s

While some people believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated to commemorate the tragic death of Valentines, others claim that the Christians just “christianize” the ancient celebration of Lupercalia. Whether this is true, it doesn’t lessen the popularity of this holiday. Over 1 billion Valentines Day cards are exchanged each year, making it the second largest season card sending. This romantic holiday has continued and will continue to be celebrated over many parts of world.

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