The history of Valentine's Day ❤️

Hello everyone!

Valentine's Day, also called Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated annually on the 14th of February. Valentine’s Day is synonymous with romance, flowers and gifts. Whether you see it as the commercialisation of romance at its best or a celebration of love, there’s no avoiding Valentine’s Day.

While the origins of Valentine's Day are uncertain, it has gone on to be associated with love and romance. Lovers all around the world often celebrate Valentine’s Day without knowing about its origin. So keep reading to find out more about the day's origins.

In modern times, Valentine’s Day is observed as a celebration of love; typically for one’s partner, but can also be for family and friends. This love may be expressed through cards, gifts, flowers, chocolate, romantic dates, or other forms of affection.

What are the origins of Valentine’s Day?

Valentine's Day gift box

Valentine’s Day can be traced back to the Pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a ritual promoting fertility and matchmaking. Others believe it relates to early Christian martyrs named Valentine. 

There are at least three saints with the names of Valentine revered by the Catholic Church. The Valentines honoured on the 14th of February are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. One version states that Valentine was a priest who served in Rome in the third century. During that time, Emperor Claudius II banned young men from getting married, as he thought that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and kids. Realising the unfairness of this law, Valentine disregarded Claudius and proceeded to secretly arrange weddings for young lovers. 

When Valentine’s acts were found out, Claudius ordered him executed. Meanwhile, others claim that the bishop Saint Valentine of Terni is the actual saint in the history of Valentine’s Day. This priest was also beheaded by Claudius outside Rome. According to other legends, Valentine may have been murdered for trying to aid Christians in escaping cruel Roman jails, where they were oftentimes tortured.

Despite the ambiguity shrouding Valentine and the real history of Valentine’s Day, they all emphasise his appeal as a sympathetic, courageous, and romantic figure.

As for sending cards signed Your Valentine, the legend continues that the sign-off comes from the man himself, who allegedly used it in a love message to his blind jailer’s daughter, who he is said to have cured.

By 1375, an author named Geoffrey Chaucer, wrote a poem associating Saint Valentine with love. He became known as the man who popularised the idea that the 14th of February was a day for lovers and romance.

William Shakespeare helped romanticise Valentine's Day in his work, and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe. Later, in the fifth century, Pope Gelasius I combined Saint Valentine's Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. The new saint's feast day was the perfect compromise as the Lupercalia festival began to fade away.

Towards the end of the 15th century, a Valentine was a colloquialism used to refer to a lover in letters, writings, and songs. By the 19th century, the Valentine’s Day card went into mass production. 


Why do we give roses and chocolate on Valentine’s Day?

In floriography (the language of flowers), roses represent Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love. They are a symbol of romance and desire. Giving roses to others is a way of showing love, particularly on Valentine’s Day.

As for chocolate, its link with romance can be associated with the Aztecs, who believed making it into a drink would arouse passion. The Spanish popularised chocolate as an aphrodisiac in the 17th century.

The idea of exchanging gifts was popularised in the 21st century, with modern traditions like going on dates or buying other gifts, besides the classic flowers and chocolates. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Talk soon,


I'm a vegan with a passion for sustainability and clean, cruelty-free products. I mainly write lifestyle, wellness and self-care articles. Since I'm a true crime enthusiast, sometimes I also write about true crime and post videos on my two YouTube channels.

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