History

The History Of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day started off as an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia. Lupercalia was celebrated mid-February, usually 13-15th of February. The festival celebrated fertility, love, health, and sex. In the 5th Century, Lupercalia was replaced by the Christian holiday, St. Valentine’s Day, by Pope Gelasius I.

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No one is exactly sure why the day is called ‘Valentine’s’, there are many possibilities. One option is a priest put to death by the Roman Emporer, Claudius II Gothicus, making him a Martyr.  He apparently wrote a letter to Claudius’ daughter, who had become friends with, signing off as ‘from your valentine’. Another possibility could be from a legend that St. Valentine would marry couples behind the back of the Emporer, thus preventing the husband from heading to war.

Valentine’s day was not celebrated as a day of love until the 14th Century. But, it wasn’t until the 16th Century that messages of love, or ‘valentines’, was really seen. Nearly two centuries later the first commercial Valentine’s day cards were printed. February is considered the time of the year that birds mate with one another, this has led to the association with Valentine’s day, this is why you’ll see birds often printed on cards and other commercial products.

Museo Thyssen- Bornemisza
Venus and Cupid – Rubens

Cupid, the Roman God of love, is commonly used on Valentine’s associated content. Often portrayed as a cherub, a baby with wings basically. Cupid is the son of Venus, the Roman Goddess of love, fertility, beauty, desire, prosperity, and victory.

 

To this day, Valentine’s day is a big deal. It’s a huge capitalist market. It has positive and negative connotations, depending on your view. Some view Valentine’s day as a pointless day used to make couples think that relationships mean nothing unless you buy things for each other. Others see it as it was originally intended; a day to celebrate love and relationships. I see it as both, really. Society has certainly milked the crap out of the holiday, it’s very materialistic, but I also see it as a day to celebrate the important people in your life. I’ve never had a Valentine, but I’m not too bothered. I am my own Valentine. I am an important person to myself, so I see it as a day to look after myself.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s day?

Lana.

LANALIKESHISTORY.COM (15)

(20) Comments

  1. nortoncharity says:

    This is such a great and informative post! I did not know much about the history of Valentine’s Day before reading this. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Thank you 🙂

  2. Wow! I never knew any of this and it is so interesting. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Thank you! 🙂

  3. I had no clue that Cupid was the Roman god of love – how interesting! I had always associated V-day with St. Valentine, so that is often what I think of when I think of the origins of the holiday.

    I’ve never been big on V-day, but there can be something sweet to it! But agree that there are a lot of materialistic, societal pressures tied to the day.

    1. I totally agree with what you’re saying. It’s certainly been blown up and out of proportion, I don’t think it was ever supposed to be like it is.

  4. I see Valentine’s Day as a day to pause and remember what is great about the person you love – these days anyway. When I was single it was a day of sometimes rather awkward situations.

    1. I tend to use Valentine’s Day as a time to treat myself. Also the half price sweets the next day, haha

      1. Good plan!

  5. Great content! I only knew about how St. Valentine would marry couples behind the back of the Emporer. Thank you for your information. 💕

    1. Thank you! The history is pretty interesting

  6. Super informative!

    1. Thank you!

  7. No worries if you haven’t had a Valentine yet. I’ve had a Valentine for 5 years, we’ve never actually celebrated Valentine’s day but we’re still very happy together 😉

    1. Haha, I’m not too bothered about it. I like using the day to treat myself!

  8. I have never had a Valentine either, so I love what you say about the day being more about celebrating the important people in your life without the material aspect of it shadowing the personal love part.
    Gifts are great but we end up attaching more to the gifts and less to their meaning.

    1. Absolutely! The most important thing should be celebrating the people you love

  9. Wow! I love such posts— makes you so knowledgeable. I did not of this history. Thank you so much for sharing.
    As a happily single woman 😅, I spent valentine’s day working… On other days I treat myself to some chocolate and flowers… But I’ve done that so much until now, on this year’s, valentine’s it didn’t seem like something I needed. I like that about self-love.

    1. Thank you! Self love is very important, I’m glad you’ve found a way to treat yourself

  10. I never knew that. I like this, self-love, yes!!

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