The History of Valentine’s Day and its Symbolisym

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 every year.


Given their similarities, it has been proposed the holiday derives from the mid-February Roman festival of Lupercalia. The festival, which celebrated the arrival of spring, included fertility rites and the lottery pairing of women and men.

Pope Gelasius forbade the celebration of Lupercalia at the end of the fifth century and is sometimes credited with replacing it with St. Valentine’s Day, but the true origin of the holiday is hazy at best. Valentine’s Day did not become popular as a romantic holiday until the 14th century.

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Although there were several Christian martyrs named Valentine, the day may have been named after a priest who was martyred by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus around 270 CE.

The priest, legend has it, signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and, according to some accounts, healed of blindness.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Other accounts claim that the holiday was named after St. Valentine of Terni, a bishop, though it is possible that the two saints were the same person.

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Another popular legend holds that St. Valentine defied the emperor’s orders and secretly married couples to keep their husbands out of the war. Because of this, his feast day is associated with love.

Formal messages, or valentines, first appeared in the 1500s, and commercially printed cards were widely used by the late 1700s. The first commercial valentines were printed in the United States in the mid-1800s.

Cupid, the Roman god of love, as well as red roses and hearts, which are traditionally the seat of love and romance, usually flood our space on this romantic occasion. Birds eventually became a symbol for the day because it was thought that the avian mating season began in mid-February.

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Traditional gifts include candy and flowers, especially red roses, which represent beauty and love.


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