History And Origin Of Valentines Day

photo courtesy of creative commons

photo courtesy of creative commons


Dallin Blackhurst, Staff Writer

    Valentine's Day. Just hearing the words bring to mind hearts, flying cherubs, candy, chocolate, and the countless awkward romances. But did you know it wasn’t always like that? Okay, no, not quite the everyone-gets-valentines celebrations of elementary school either. In fact, its origins might surprise you.

    Valentine's Day is over 1520 years old. That is six times older than the United States of America! Valentine's Day is in the middle of February for many different reasons. One of the reasons is because the mating season for birds is in the middle of February; another reason is that of the ancient Romans. They would celebrate the feast of Lupercalia on February 13-15. After the feast, they would do very crazy things like sacrifice a goat and a sheep and then do stuff with their hides. Then all of the men would draw a woman's name from a jar and they would have to couple up with each other for the rest of the festival. The reason why it is called “Valentine’s” Day also hails from the Romans. Emperor Claudius II executed two saints on February 14 and they both happened to be named Valentine. Their deaths were honored by the Catholic Church, so they would celebrate on that day as St Valentine's Day for many years. Many years later, Pope Gelasius combined Lupercalia with St Valentine's Day to reduce the pagan overtones of the holiday. They would use Lupercalia rituals and the name and day of Valentine's Day.

    Surprising, huh? Remember that every time you think we just invented a holiday for modern consumerism. Maybe don’t go back to the Roman way of celebrating Valentine’s Day, but remember it, if only so you know what not to do.