The Origins of Valentine’s Day

Valentines Day


Valentine’s Day

Mia Fiedler, Staff Writer

Valentine’s Day comes and goes each year, and you may have someone to spend it with, or you may not, but do you know the origins behind this annual day of love? 

One legend contends that it all started with a priest by the name of Valentine. In ancient Rome, Emperor Claudius II decided to outlaw young men from getting married due to a draft for a war. The priest still wed these men to their brides in private, and shortly after that, he was beheaded. 

Another story contends that Valentine may have been killed for helping Christians escape harsh conditions in Roman prisons. According to these legends, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, who visited him in his cell. Before his death, he sent her a letter signed, “from, your Valentine,” which is allegedly where the saying comes from that we still use today. Valentine’s Day is rumored to be near his death. 

Still, other people think the date comes from the Christianization of the Pagan holiday Lupercalia, which would have happened around this time. Lupercalia had previously celebrated fertility, and the God of Agriculture, Faunus. During this holiday, bachelors would draw women’s name’s out of an urn, and these pairings would often end in marriage, which is probably where the love and relationship aspect of Valentine’s comes from. However, Lupercalia was outlawed due to the uprising of Christianity, but was reincorporated to become Valentine’s and moved to February 14th because it was believed in England and France that this day was the beginning of the birds’ mating season, adding to the idea that Valentine’s Day should be a day of romance. 

Later on, in the middle of the 18th century, Valentine’s was commonly celebrated by lovers and friends of all social classes, evolving into what it has become today!