The origins of Valentine’s day

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As we know, Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year. This is the date that all couples have marked in their calendars as a day to spend being a couple and enjoying their love. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship for even a modest length of time will understand the significance of Valentine’s Day.

February 14th is generally a day of romantic gestures, loving encounters, and even a few anti-Valentine’s celebrations! But, as much as we know about the day, and what it represents, we don’t know too much about the history or origins. So, we decided to do a bit of research, and check out the origins of the global Day of Love; here goes!

Saint Valentine

Now, believe it or not, there were actually three different Saint Valentine’s who were Christian saints at the time, so it’s unclear which one the holiday is named after. All three were said to have died on or around February 14th, which gave rise to the date being used for this particular holiday. The Saint Valentine considered to be the one most associated with the holiday was a Roman priest who is thought to have fallen out with Emperor Claudius II. The two are said to have fallen out after Claudius banned young men getting married, believing single men made better soldiers. Valentine defied orders and carried out marriage ceremonies anyway. He was arrested and imprisoned where he fell in love with a woman and wrote her a letter signed ‘From your Valentine.’

The Romans

The Romans were actually considered the first to actually observe and celebrate the holiday. This is actually traced back to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia – known as the Festival of Fertility; though this was celebrated on February 15th. However, the date was changed by the Pope, who made the decision to reclassify the festival in honor of Saint Valentine, and thus the date was altered to one day earlier – February 14th. The first year to mark this change was as far back as 496 AD.

When did cards come into it?

The origin of giving and receiving Valentine’s Day cards dates back to 18th Century England, where it became traditional to exchange handmade cards and gifts. This spread to America, and it became much more widespread in the United States in around the 1850s. This happened after Esther Howland started to mass produce cards, and the phenomenon grew with every passing year. In fact, it is estimated that a quarter of all cards sent each year are sent on Valentine’s Day.

As you might imagine, Valentine’s Day is one of the most important and well-celebrated holidays across the world. It is considered to be the most romantic day of the year and is a day that all couples look forward to. The origins of the day are interesting, and you can see the Roman link that brought us to this point. Valentine’s Day in recent years has become largely dominated by greeting card companies and has been commercialized in a way similar to Christmas, but the romantic sentiments still remain.

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