Valentine’s Day – the history and origin of the celebration

The 14th day of February every year is regarded as Valentine’s Day. Candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones across the United States and around the world on this day, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this enigmatic saint, and where did these customs originate?

Learn about the origins and history of Valentine’s Day, from the ancient Roman springtime celebration of Lupercalia to Victorian England’s card-giving habits. Its exact origins are still a mystery.

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History of Valentine’s Day

The most well-known myth claims that Saint Valentine was a priest who disobeyed emperor orders and secretly wed couples in order to protect their husbands from going to war.
Valentine’s Day, which falls on February 14, is the most eagerly anticipated day of the year for any partnership.

Red and white are the only colours present when love is in the air, and they arouse feelings of affection and love. Uninformed people could think that the day is named after an unidentified saint, although it actually may have numerous origins. Its precise genesis is still unknown.

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According to folklore, the celebration is observed to mark the anniversary of Saint Valentine’s passing, who passed away in the middle of February in the year 270 AD. Saint Valentine is said to have defied emperors by secretly marrying couples to keep their husbands from fighting. There are claims that he was beheaded by Emperor Claudius II Gothicus.

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Legends around Valentine’s day

Valentine’s Day has its roots in “Lupercalia,” a Roman festival honouring fertility.

It is also believed that the church celebrated the day in an effort to give the Lupercalia event a religious undertone. The ceremony honoured Romulus and Remus, the Roman founders, as well as Faunus, the agricultural deity.

During the festivities, men and women were paired according to a lottery procedure, and the majority of them later got married. Around the end of the fifth century, Pope Gelasius I decided to honour Saint Valentine on the occasion of the Lupercalia festival.

Saint Valentine is also said to have wonderfully healed the blind daughter of his executioner. Another tradition claims that the feast was named after a bishop named Saint Valentine of Terni.

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Another School of Thought

Saint Valentine became renowned as the patron saint of love, despite the fact that most people believe they are the same person.

He was also claimed to have worn a ring with the emblem of love Cupid on it, which helped soldiers recognize him. Historians believe that a poem published by middle ages author Geoffrey Chaucer in 1381 is the foundation of the current love celebration.

It links Saint Valentine to the celebration of love, reinforcing popular belief in the festival’s history.

Some historians claim that Valentine was killed because he tried to help Christians escape the harsh Roman prisons, where they were routinely beaten and tortured.

The first “valentine” greeting is said to have been delivered by a prisoner named Valentine who fell in love with a young girl who visited him while he was incarcerated—possibly his jailor’s daughter.

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He is said to have written her a letter inscribed “From your Valentine” before his death, an idiom that is still used today.

Although the truth underlying the Valentine legends is hazy, all of the stories underscore Valentine’s attractiveness as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, amorous person.

Valentine rose to prominence as one of the most revered saints in England and France during the Middle Ages, possibly as a result of his reputation.

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Gifts Given On Valentines Day

Formal notes, or valentines, first emerged in the 1500s, and commercially printed cards were utilized by the late 1700s. In the mid-1800s, the first commercial valentines were printed in the United States.

American valentine's card
Valentine’s Day card used in America in 1908

Cupid, the Roman god of love, is frequently shown on Valentines, along with hearts, which are traditionally the seat of emotion.

Birds became a symbol of the day since it was considered that the avian mating season started in mid-February. Candy and flowers, especially red roses, a symbol of beauty and love, are traditional gifts.

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The day is widely observed in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, and it is also observed in Argentina, France, Mexico, and South Korea.

It is the most common wedding anniversary in the Philippines, and large marriages involving hundreds of couples are not uncommon on this day. The occasion has evolved to encompass affectionate exchanges between relatives and friends. On this day, many schoolchildren share valentines with one another.

In Ghana, chocolate bars are used to commemorate the occasion.


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