The history of Valentine’s Day

The history of Valentines Day

Erica McPhearson, Staff Writer

Don’t you just love Valentine’s Day? The stores decorated…the couples exchanging gifts…the romance celebrated at every turn. Unless you’re single, then happy Singles Awareness Day!

St. Valentine’s Day is an annual festival to celebrate romantic love, friendship and admiration. People celebrate this day by sending messages of love and affection to partners, family and friends.

Have you ever wondered how this holiday came to be?  According to, Valentine’s Day was created by the Romans on February 14, in the year 496. The Romans had a holiday called Lupercalia, celebrated to honor Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage at the beginning of their springtime.

However, Valentine’s Day did not come to be celebrated as a day of romance until about the 14th century. Although there were several Christian martyrs named Valentine, the day may have taken its name from a priest who was martyred about 270 C.E. by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus, according to CNET.

While the European’s traditions connected with Saint Valentine, there are some remaining associations that connect  the saint with the start of spring, says Wikipedia. 

The custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts originated in the United Kingdom.

Valentine’s Day still remains connected with various regional customs in England. In Norfolk, for example, tradition says that a person named Jack Valentine knocks on the back door of houses, leaving sweets and presents for children. But the funny thing was, even though he was leaving treats, many children were scared of him.

Cupid, the winged cherub who allegedly shoots arrows that make people fall in love, is also heavily associated with Valentine’s Day.   The charming character that appears on many Valentine’s Day cards also has its roots in Greek mythology. According to Time, Cupid can be traced all the way back to 700 B.C., to Eros, the Greek god of love who was actually a handsome, immortal man with the power to make people fall in love. It wasn’t until the 4th century BCE that Romans adapted Eros into the image of a cute little boy with a bow and arrow with the name of Cupid. Cupid had become linked to Valentine’s Day because of his love matching power.

Regardless of its cultural roots, modern-day Valentine’s day is mostly commercial. It is the biggest holiday of the year for the greeting card industry, and more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold across the entire country.

The average man spends $130 on Valentine’s Day, while women only spend $70. People even buy their pets gifts for Valentine’s Day!

From its early origins to its modern interpretations, Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate friends and partners.