Valentine’s Day: What are we really celebrating?

Valentine's day is a day to express love and joy for a significant other, friends and what not; but there is an issue with this. Why do we celebrate this day and what’s the history behind it? As all history entails it has to deal with religion as if that is any surprise, but the history is a mystery and there are many stories which may hold the truth or could just be bologna.

Story One- Legend of St. Valentine

Once upon a time…

There was Priest by the name Valentine; and boy oh boy he was quite the romantic. The Romans wanted hardened soldiers, so Claudius II forbid young men from entering marriages as to not distract them from becoming big beefy men. Valentine did not like that, and he refused to acknowledge such a decree, so he began to marry these couples in secret. Unfortunately, as most secret operations go, he was caught and sentenced to death.

Other tales of this mention him helping Christians escape Roman prisons, and when he was captured, he fell in love with a daughter of a guard and wrote the first Valentine letter, and came up with a token phrase of signing.

-From your Valentine


Story Two- Paganism

   On approximately February 15th Pagans celebrated a festival of fertility. It went by the name Lupercalia. This was an exciting day, to say the least, and was celebrated in the caves of Romulus and Remus. IN the cave sacrifices would occur, and then the women would touch the hide of the goat and hopefully become fertile in the coming year. During this celebration, the women’s names would be dropped in an urn and men would draw them out. This would end in a union between the man and woman and most typically marriage.

   Due to this festival, there is an assumption Christians created Valentine’s Day to Christianize paganism, to correspond with the day to St. Valentine's burial. The festival was eventually banned altogether as Christianity rose, and Pope Gelasius declared February 14th St Valentine’s Day.  Love did not come into play yet. Love wasn’t a part of the holiday until the Middle Ages. It was assumed February 14th was the beginning to birds mating seasons, by France and England, so this made the idea the February 14th should be about love.

The End


   It is crazy how warped ideals get over time, from the idea of celebrating a saint to love due to birds mating is crazy. The term lovebirds had to come from somewhere. The true origin of this holiday is slightly left up in airs, due to not knowing the true history behind the mysterious saint of love. All I know is, that Valentine’s day is all about the flowers, chocolates, and gift giving these days, not that I mind. Maybe, it's my pessimistic nature to assume Valentine’s Day is just a Holiday of show, but after delving into the past, nothing has truly stuck to modern day. I doubt many know of St. Valentine or the pagan holiday, in which Valentine’s Day replaced. I did not, and leaving this article I am glad to have accumulated some new useless information for my arsenal, and maybe in the future, I will think to just look and think to myself what is the story behind this?

It’s incredible to look at today’s capitalist society which hallmarks on Valentine’s day and to remember what it was about in the beginning. It had nothing really to do with love, and everything to do with religion. Today people use it to spend money and buy red and pink wrapped chocolate, and roses (which are way to expensive). In the past no matter what it was about just think it wasn’t about love.