All over the world, couples, Christians and non-believers alike, join in this annual celebration of love.
Many people all over the world associate the ‘most romantic day of the year’ with flowers and cards, but how did Valentine’s Day begin and what’s the real reason we celebrate?
Valentine’s Day is known for being the ‘most romantic day of the year’.
For some, it’s an opportunity to show affection for our loved ones with cards, flowers or chocolates.
But why exactly do we celebrate Valentine’s Day and why does it fall on February 14?
This is how the history of Valentine’s Day began…
How did Valentine’s Day begin?
Valentine’s Day is an old tradition thought to have originated from a Roman Festival known as Lupercalia, according to.
It was held on February 15 as a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture.
During the celebrations boys would draw names of girls from a box and the pair would be partners during the festival.
These matches often led to marriage.
The festival survived the initial rise of Christianity but was outlawed at the end of the 5th century when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St Valentine’s Day.
Who was St Valentine?
The St Valentine that inspired the day may have been more than one man.
The saint officially recognised by the Roman Catholic Church was a real person who died around AD 270.
An account from 1400s describes Valentine as a priest who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed.
The emperor had banned marriage as he thought single men made better soldiers.
Valentine felt this was unfair so he celebrated marriages in secret.
When the emperor found out he was thrown in jail and sentenced to death.
Why do we give Valentine’s cards?
Another idea is that when he was sent to prison, he sent a letter to a young girl he had fallen in love with and signed it “From your Valentine”.
It’s thought this was the first ever Valentine’s Day greeting.
Why is always celebrated on February 14?
Some believe that Valentine’s Day’s is celebrated mid-February to mark the anniversary of St Valentine’s death.
It’s thought to have happened in the middle of the month around 270 AD.
Others maintain that the Christian church decided to place St Valentine’s feast day at this time of the year in an effort to ‘Christianise’ the pagan festival of Lupercalia.
When did Valentine’s Day become commercial?
It wasn’t until the 18th century that Valentine’s Day took off in England. Lovers began to send trinkets, cards and flowers to their loved ones.
A huge amount of printed cards would get sold, then in 1913 Hallmark Cards in Kansas City began mass producing specific Valentine’s Day cards.
Now about a billion cards are sold every year and it’s the second biggest card sending time of the whole year.
Culled From Mirror