The Origins of Valentine’s Day—Here’s What to Know

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Every February 14 of the year, people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day, a holiday where people express their love towards their loved ones.

On this day, you can definitely feel the love in the air. People often buy gifts, a bouquet of roses and chocolates to give to their partners to honor their love for each other.

But let me tell you. This day is not for couples alone. This day of love could also be conveyed to families, friends, and even yourself!

Valentine’s day has become quite a popular holiday today. But have you ever stopped to think about who created Valentine’s Day and why we celebrate it anyway? 

Let’s talk about the origins of the name Valentine’s day. 

Valentine’s day was named after a saint named Valentine. However, there is some confusion about the origins of the namesake. This is because different saints named Valentine could’ve inspired this popular holiday. 

Saint Valentine

These saints were also martyred or killed because of their beliefs by Roman Emperor Claudius II in the 3rd century. Moreover, they were also believed to have died on February 14. However, it was from different years.

One legend suggests that Valentine was a priest that defied Emperor Claudius II. The emperor banned marriage for young men because he believed single young men made better soldiers and marriage would distract them. 

Valentine realized how unfair this decree was and illegally married young couples secretly in the spirit of love. But when Emperor Claudius II found out, Valentine was imprisoned and sentenced to death.

According to the legend, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. And before his death, he wrote a letter for her signed “From your Valentine.” 

The other story said Valentine helped Christians beaten and tortured escape Roman prisons. 

Another common legend was about Saint Valentine, a bishop of Terni. He’s a miracle worker with healing abilities. As the story goes, the bishop was sent to heal a scholar’s son who couldn’t straighten his body or speak. 

Saint Valentine healed the boy after a night of prayer and converted his whole family, along with visiting scholars, to Christianity. However, the bishop was arrested for his miracles and was beheaded by Claudius II because he refused to convert to paganism. Paganism is a religion that worships many gods or goddesses.

While some believe that Valentine’s Day celebrates the death of St. Valentine, historians believe that the holiday’s earliest possible origin story is the ancient pagan fertility festival Lupercalia


Lupercalia was a fertility festival held each year in Rome on February 15. It was dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

Roman priests would sacrifice animals and slap women with animal hides during this day, a practice believed to promote fertility. 

However, in the late 5th century, Pope Gelasius ended Lupercalia when he came to power. Soon after, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 to celebrate the martyred Saint Valentine. Others believed he declared this a feast day to replace the pagan holiday.

Today, the celebration of Valentine’s day is shown in different ways. But giving gifts, red roses, and chocolates has become a popular custom to show love.

But whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, showing your love and appreciation to your loved ones is important not just on Valentine’s Day but every day.

What are your thoughts about this? How do you celebrate Valentine’s day? Please comment below with your answers.

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