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Sex + Relationships

Where The Day of Love Began

Valentine’s Day is approaching and the world is getting ready to buy chocolates and teddy bears for their loved ones. But why do we celebrate Valentine’s day? Is it more than just a Hallmark holiday? Actually, the answer is yes! 

The origins of Valentine’s Day are speculated to begin in celebration of St. Valentine who died in February of 270 A.D. This is both a Christian and ancient Roman tradition. There are a few saints that the Catholic Church recognizes named Valentine or Valentinus, who were all Martyred and could be the origin of the celebrations. In one story, Valentine, a priest, continued to marry single men to their significant others when it was outlawed by Emperor Claudius II. Unfortunately, he was beheaded when Emperor Claudius II found out. 

Others speculate that Valentine’s Day was created because St. Valentine was killed for helping Christians escape harsh prison conditions. According to another legend, during St. Valentine’s jail time, he fell in love with a jailor’s daughter, saw her secretly and began sending her love notes. These notes were signed “From your Valentine,” which is something we use on this holiday to this day. 

Though these St. Valentine legends and speculations seem despairing, they all highlight the ways in which Valentine was either committing selfless acts or acts of love and admiration. That, as a result, is why Valentine’s Day is a day of love and romance.

The last speculated reason we celebrate this holiday is that Christians may have decided to create Valentine’s Day to Christianize the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, celebrated on February 15th. Lupercalia is a fertility festival where a goat and a dog would be sacrificed by a priest in a cave. Women would either touch or be slapped by the carcasses in order to be fertile in the coming year. The city’s bachelors would then choose a woman to be paired with, which often ended in marriage. 

Whether Valentine’s Day began with saving others from torture, marrying couples illegally, falling in love with a jailor’s daughter or being slapped by carcasses, I think this holiday is very fun and unique! You don’t need a significant other to celebrate because you can just spend time with and do something sweet for someone you love or care for, just like St. Valentine.

Becky Rose

Bradley U '23

Hello! My name is Rebecca Rose and I am a junior nutrition and dietetics major at Bradley University. I have a passion of sharing with others about how to improve their health and wellness and cannot wait to share more through my writing to other students. Follow me on Instagram @becky32301 to get to know me more!
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