The Surprising Origins and History of Valentine’s Day: What You Need to Know

The history of Valentine’s Day is as convoluted as a Facebook relationship status. Today, Valentine’s Day is synonymous with love and romance, and the very mention of the holiday conjures images of candy boxes, flower arrangements, candlelit dinners, and winking face emojis.

Also, youngsters love to make unique Valentine’s Day boxes to store their cards and treats. However, when one investigates the background of the February 14 celebration… yeah, it gets a little shady and dark and definitely not kid-friendly from here on out.

Ever wonder where Valentine’s Day came from, if it has pagan roots, or who the real St. Valentine was?You are not alone; in fact, even historians disagree on the specifics.

It’s true that finding the perfect Valentine’s Day present can be a challenge, but we can at least provide a brief history of the holiday, from its origins in ancient Rome through the Middle Ages and into the modern day.

Where Does the Name Valentine Come From?

The Surprising Origins and History of Valentine's Day: What You Need to Know

Everyone is aware that St. Valentine is honored on February 14. Nonetheless, why? Where did this Valentine come from, anyway?

The New York Times suggests that the two men may have collaborated to create the holiday. After all, two Valentines were beheaded by Roman Emperor Claudius II on February 14 (though in different years) in the third century C.E., as reported by NPR.

The Catholic Church may have created St. Valentine’s Day to commemorate these individuals whom they considered martyrs.

One of these men, Saint Valentine of Terni, may have been a supporter of love because he performed weddings for Roman troops in secret, despite the emperor’s orders to stop.

The custom of sending Valentine’s Day letters is the subject of another tale. It is said that while St. Valentine was imprisoned for the aforementioned offenses, he penned the first “valentine” message to a young girl he educated and fell in love with.

Before he passed away, he reportedly signed a letter to her “From your Valentine,” a phrase that is still regularly used today.

But these love stories are just tall tales in the end. St. Valentine is still celebrated as a saint, although the Roman Catholic Church withdrew his feast day from its calendar in 1969 because so little is known about the martyrs who bore the name St. Valentine.

Also Read:-

Cute Valentine’s Day Wallpapers For Your Phone

The Surprising Origins and History of Valentine's Day: What You Need to Know

Although purchasing a new phone may not always be an option, you can always download a new backdrop to give your phone a fresh new look.

All of these free Valentine’s Day phone wallpapers are adorable and fun, and they’re a great way to get into the holiday mood without breaking the bank.

There’s something here for everyone, whether you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day wallpaper for your tablet or desktop, or a theme for your iPhone, Android, or Google phone (to suggest to your significant other about your favorite Valentine’s Day candy).

Even if you’ve never changed your wallpaper before, it takes less than a minute on an iPhone. Navigate to Settings > Wallpaper > Choose A New Wallpaper.

These pink phone backgrounds are lovely to look at whether you’re reading a work email or swiping on Tinder, and feature anything from hearts to flowers that will carry you into spring.

Heart Mobile Wallpaper

Hearts are a timeless and adorable choice for wall decor that you won’t have to remove just because Valentine’s Day has passed. These adorable Valentine’s Day wallpapers are festive for Valentine’s Day and beyond, whether they’re obviously Cupid-approved or more subtle.

Does Valentine’s Day have pagan origins?

The Surprising Origins and History of Valentine's Day: What You Need to Know

Lupercalia, a fertility festival celebrated by ancient Romans around the middle of February (the following text is not suitable for children). During this drunken celebration honoring Faunas, the Roman god of agriculture, and the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, a priestly order ran naked through the streets “gently slapping” women with the bloodied hides of animals they had sacrificed in the mistaken belief that doing so would increase fertility. According to, the ladies would later be matched with men “by lottery.”

Lupercalia was banned by Pope Gelasius I in the late 5th century C.E. It has been suggested that he was responsible for replacing the pagan festival with the observance of St. Valentine’s Day on February 14th.

Also Read:-

When Did Valentine’s Day Become a Romantic Holiday?

Nothing about this seems very romantic, and that’s because Valentine’s Day didn’t start to resemble the romantic celebration we know today until the Middle Ages, possibly thanks to the poet Geoffrey Chaucer.

According to the Times, late University of Kansas English professor Jack B. Oruch concluded that in his 14th century writings “The Parliament of Fowls” and “The Complaint of Mars,” Chaucer was the first to associate love with St. Valentine. So, according to Oruch, Chaucer was the one who first celebrated Valentine’s Day as we know it today.

The first day of spring in Britain at the time of Chaucer’s writing was February 14. This was because it marked the beginning of the mating season for birds. “For this was on Saint Valentine’s day, / When every fowl comes there his mate to take,” one of the verses of Chaucer’s “The Parliament of Fowls” reads.

Why Didn’t Chaucer Just Write “for This Was on February 14…”?

Regardless of how poetic it may seem, it would not have been the norm during that era. This is because, as Jacqueline Simpson writes on The Folklore Society’s blog, “in the Catholic Church every day in the year celebrates at least one saint,” and “for a public who had no printed calendars it was easier to remember dates by names than by figures.”

Also Read:-

Why Do We Celebrate Valentine’s Day?

The Surprising Origins and History of Valentine's Day: What You Need to Know

Whether or not Chaucer deserves all the credit, it is undeniable that he and Shakespeare helped make February 14 a day associated with love. As Valentine’s Day approached, people started writing and sharing love letters.

The commercialization of Valentine’s Day and many of its associated customs began about the middle of the nineteenth century. Flowers were a popular way for Victorian men to show their love for women, while chocolates in the shape of hearts were introduced by Richard Cadbury and the New England Confectionery Company (Necco).

Around the same time, a young woman named Esther Howland—dubbed the “Mother of the American Valentine”—changed the face of valentines in America with her ingenious assembly line approach that made complex cards affordable for the masses. If you need ideas for homemade Valentine’s Day cards, just Google some of Howland’s masterpieces.

Around the turn of the twentieth century, the American firm that would eventually become Hallmark began distributing its more formal “Valentine’s Day cards.” What happened after that is, well, history.

What Part Does Cupid Play on Valentine’s Day?

It’s not only about Valentine’s Day! Cupid, the winged newborn boy depicted on many Valentine’s Day cards and other memorabilia, is another icon of this occasion dedicated to romantic love. Cupid was the divine son of Venus in Roman mythology.

Venus was the goddess of love and beauty. The arrows he shot made the gods and humans he targeted fall in love at first sight. It’s not known when or why Cupid was first associated with Valentine’s Day, but the reason is obvious.

Leave a Comment