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The History of Valentine's Day

Corinne du Mont, Staff Writer

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Valentine's Day, the most enchanting day of the year, is just around the corner, and it's time to celebrate love in all its glory! Whether you're professing your love to a special someone, showing appreciation to cherished friends and family, or simply indulging in self-love, Valentine's Day offers the perfect opportunity to spread joy and affection. Picture romantic candlelit dinners, heartfelt exchanges of gifts, and tender moments shared with loved ones. Valentine’s Day wasn’t always this kind of a holiday though…it comes from traditions from many centuries ago!

Ancient Roman Origins:

Valentine's Day traces its beginnings to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in the middle of February. Lupercalia honored the mythical founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, as well as Faunus, the god of agriculture. During this festival, young men would draw names of young women from a jar, pairing them off as couples for the duration of the festivities or even longer. This matchmaking tradition laid the groundwork for the romantic associations we now associate with Valentine's Day.

Christian Influence:

As Christianity spread, efforts were made to Christianize pagan festivals, leading to the association of February 14th with St. Valentine. However, the true identity of St. Valentine remains uncertain, as there were multiple saints with similar names. One popular story suggests that Valentine, a Roman priest, defied Emperor Claudius II's ban on marriages for young men by secretly marrying couples. Another tale depicts Valentine as a compassionate figure who, before his execution, sent a love letter signed "from your Valentine" to his jailer's daughter, solidifying his status as a symbol of love and devotion.

Commercialization and Modern-Day Celebration:

Valentine's Day cards were mass-produced in the 19th century thanks to the Industrial Revolution and developments in printing technology, which increased public accessibility to the event. Valentine's Day grew more commercialized in the 20th century, as evidenced by the explosive growth in the sales of chocolates, flowers, and other gifts. Valentine's Day is celebrated globally, with couples sharing romantic gestures, romantic dinners, and gifts of affection to show their love for one another.

Looking back on the incredible journey of Valentine's Day throughout history, it's easy to see why this holiday holds such a special place in our hearts. From its ancient beginnings in Rome to its modern-day celebration worldwide, Valentine's Day has always been about spreading love and happiness. It's a day filled with traditions, stories, and heartfelt moments that remind us of the importance of love in our lives. So, as we gear up for another Valentine's Day, let's embrace the magic of this timeless celebration and share the love with those who matter most to us.

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