The History of Valentine’s Day

(Photo courtesy of

(Photo courtesy of

William Rhodes, Photo Editor

Many of you think of Valentine’s Day as a time of romance and candy, but how did it really start? Valentine’s Day is named after the saint Valentine. There is no conformed idea about where and when the saint lived. People disagree on why Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14. Some people think it is to celebrate the death of the saint, while others think it was an attempt to make a pagan holiday more Christian. The pagan holiday was called Lupercalia, and it was a celebration for the gods of agriculture. Either way it is a holiday that is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and of course, the United States.

The celebration of Valentine’s Day dates back to the 1400s, but was not popularly celebrated and recognized until the 1700s. Unlike many events and holidays at the time, it was celebrated and enjoyed by all social classes and races. Valentine’s Day was, as it still is, a time to give each other letters to express affection.  Valentine’s Day cards are not limited to just lovers, but also friends and family; they express gratitude and appreciation as well.  Throughout the years, Valentine’s Day has gained even more attention and become ever more popular.  It grew very quickly in the 1900s when printed and mass produced cards became popular. So it became easier and cheaper to send Valentine’s Day cards. Today, it is estimated that there are over a billion cards exchanged, that is second only to Christmas.

Valentine’s Day started as a celebration of love and affection for each other, but now it is also an enormous commercial venture. Many card and candy companies wait for this day every year. Today many people think of the cards and candy as the reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The most recognizable of the candy is heart-shaped chocolate.  In modern history Valentine’s Day has grown exponentially to create the celebration of love that it is today.  The holiday is celebrated by all kinds of people today, but behind all of the commercialism Valentine’s Day is and always has been a celebration of affection and love.