The History Of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is renowned for being a day filled with showering your loved one’s flowers, chocolates, love letters, and gifts. The history behind the age-old celebration is dark, bloody, and not as sweet and romantic as it’s painted today. Interesting, huh?

Let’s dive into the history of Valentine’s Day, from the ancient Roman ritual of Lupercalia that welcomed spring to the Christian feast of honoring the two martyrs.

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The History of Valentine

Origin of Valentines Day

The exact origin of St Valentine’s Day is shrouded in mystery, but its history can be traced from both ancient Roman and Christian traditions. Some legends speculate that Valentine’s Day was celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial, while others believe that Christians wanted to ‘Christianize’ the unholy feast of Lupercalia. 

Young women would line up, and men would whip them, and the crop yields with the hides dipped in the blood of the goat they had sacrificed. The naked and drunk men believed that smacking their women would make them fertile for the coming season.

Valentine’s Day is also assumed to be rooted in the Catholic Church celebration of honoring the two martyrs named Valentine. According to some historians, Saint Valentine were two distinct ancient characters who were said to have restored sight to the blind daughter of their jailer during imprisonment and execution by decapitation.

Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Valentine’s Day

About the origin of a day filled with roses and candy traditions; you will definitely enjoy discovering some exciting facts explaining how Valentine’s Day came into being.

Read on as we dig deep into the history of the Day we celebrate love and romance, unfolding some of the hilarious facts that have never crossed your mind.

Valentine’s Day Is Tied To Lupercalia

Lupercalia is a pagan fertility festival held on February 15 by the ancient Romans. The Roman ritual was dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture as well to the Rome founders Romulus and Remus. The festivities began with a Roman priest ordering members of Luperci to gather around a sacred cave protected by a she-wolf or Lupa. This would be followed by the priest sacrificing a goat for fertility and a dog for purification.

The women would later place their names in a big urn for the city’s bachelors to choose a name to pair up with for the coming year. Legends tell that most matches often ended up in marriages.

Cupid Represents Love

Have you ever wondered why most Valentine’s cards have a chubby boy holding a bow and arrow? Well, meet Cupid, a Roman God rooted in Greek mythology. According to historians, the charming cherub boy acquired the name Cupid in the 4th century. The Greek Archaic poets referred to Eros, the Greek god of love, as the good-looking immortal man who used golden arrows to evoke love and leaden ones to sow aversions with the emotions of Gods and men. It was until the Hellenistic period in the 19th century that Cupid represented love on Valentine’s Day with his love-matching spells.

A Poem Is The Oldest Record Of Valentine

You would be delighted to learn about the very first love letter in the form of a poem referring to February 14 as the day birds and humans looked for a mate. In 1375, the medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote ‘Parliament of Foules,’ a piece that received widespread attention. His poem reads as ‘For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day/ When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.’ In his work, Geoffrey links a tradition of courtly love with St Valentine’s Day celebration. 

The First Valentine’s Day Card Was Produced In 1840 

The Western countries mostly celebrate Valentine’s Day; the United States, Canada, Mexico, France, United Kingdom, and Australia. Remarkably, Great Britain celebrated Valentine’s Day as early as the 17th century.   

Later in the 18th century, all social calibers adapted and exchanged handwritten notes as a mere token of affection. Thanks to advanced technology: ready-made cards replaced handwritten love letters. In the 1840s, Ester Howland sold the first mass-produced Valentine’s cards. This got her named ‘Mother of the American Valentines in the United States. Ester commercialized Valentine’s Cards, where she made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures known as ‘Scrap,’ which she is remembered for.

Today, Valentine’s Day ranks as the second-largest card-sending holiday of the year, after Christmas cards. With proof from the Greeting Card Association, it is reported: approximately 143 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent to significant others each year. 


In conclusion, it was in the 5th Century when Pope Gelasius ruled out February 14 as Valentine’s  Day, the holiday set apart to celebrate love. Coincidentally, February 14 was believed to mark the beginning of birds’ mating season in France and England. This tradition sealed the ideology that Valentine’s Day is a special romance day as it is valued.


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