Every year on February 14, Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed. It began as a Christian memorial day dedicated to one or more martyred early Christians by the name of Saint Valentine. Through subsequent folk customs, it has developed into a huge cultural, religious, and economic commemoration of love and romance in many parts of the world.

Valentine’s Day is associated with various martyrdom tales, including one about Saint Valentine of Rome, who was imprisoned for helping Christians whom the Roman Empire was persecuting in the 3rd century. Early legend has it that Saint Valentine healed the blind child of his jailer. Many later additions to the legend have improved its connection to the theme of love. For example, an 18th-century addition to the legend asserts that he wrote the jailer’s daughter a letter addressed to “Your Valentine” as a parting gift before his execution. Another tradition holds that Saint Valentine officiated at weddings for Christian service members who were prohibited from getting married.

What does Valentine’s Day symbolize?

Valentine’s Day has served as a commercial festival, a religious holiday, and an ancient ceremonial day over the years. Because of all these changes, Valentine’s Day can mean anything to you: You can completely forego the festivities, treat yourself to some chocolate or roses, or you can show your love and gratitude for the individuals in your life, whether they are coworkers, romantic partners, mates, or family members.

What year did Valentine’s Day begin?

Valentine’s Day is a set date on the calendar that was combined with Lupercalia, a mid-February celebration on the old Roman calendar, which some historians say is how Valentine’s Day came to be associated with love. A rite in which men & women were married off by selecting names out of a jar may have been part of the fertility celebration known as Lupercalia. The union of the deity Zeus & the goddess Hera was celebrated in the middle of winter in ancient Greece.

Why is February 14 chosen as the Day to observe Valentine’s Day?

Generally speaking, early Christians chose to observe holidays on dates close to other festivals and festivities (such as Christmas and the winter solstice). Hence they chose to observe Valentine’s Day on February 14 and Lupercalia on February 15.

Who was Saint Valentine? Furthermore, what does he have to do with chocolate hearts?

It turns out not much. Around 500 AD, the Catholic Church added St. Valentine’s Day is a feast day to its liturgical calendar. Valentine-themed martyred saints were honored on this Day. Three separate saints named Valentine or Valentinus are commemorated in various traditions. 

Still, because so little is known about them and the St. Valentine’s Day has been reported in numerous ways; the feast day was dropped from the Christian calendar in 1969. Even though virtually little is known about the lives of the Saint Valentines who served as the inspiration for the celebration, the Saint Valentine tale has been told several times. 

According to a tale, Roman Emperor Claudius II put Saint Valentine to death because he refused to accept paganism. His jailer’s daughter was miraculously healed before he was put to death, and both she and his family embraced Christianity afterwards. According to a different tradition, the feast is named for a bishop of Saint Valentine of Terni, who was also put to death.

Others, however, claim that Saint Valentine was a Roman priest who officiated weddings for soldiers who were forbidden from getting married because a Roman emperor’s decree stated that married soldiers were not good warriors and young men could not get married. 

This is how Saint Valentine came to be associated with a love-centred holiday. A Cupid-adorned ring that this Saint Valentine wore—a symbol of love—helped troops identify him. He also distributed paper hearts to persuade Christians of their love for God in an early form of greeting cards.

Saint Valentine gained notoriety as the patron saint of love due to this myth. In the Saint Valentine prayer, it is requested that Saint Valentine bring lovers together so they may unite and remember their devotion to God.

While Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem, published in 1375, is regarded by historians as the source of the “modern” celebration of Valentine’s Day, where we honor our romantic relationships with one another, Saint Valentine’s Day’s origin story laid the foundation for the Day’s establishment as a holiday for romantic love.

What’s the history of Valentine’s Day?

St. Valentine’s Day wasn’t declared on February 14 until more than 200 years later. Rome had already converted to Christianity at this point, & the Catholic Church was passionate about eradicating any remaining pagan rituals. Every year, a pagan fertility ceremony took place in February. The Pope banned this celebration and declared February 14 to be Saint Valentine’s Day, adding this feast day to the Catholic Calendar of Saints.

The medieval poet Chaucer was the first person to associate St. Valentine with passionate love. This was the start of the custom of courtly love, an often-secret ritual of showing love and appreciation. The legend of a High Court of Love, wherein female judges would render judgements on matters of love on February 14 each year, evolved as this habit spread throughout Europe. Historians think these gatherings were in reality meetings where individuals read love poems and performed flirting games.

Symbols of Valentine’s Day

People started sending personalized cards as an extension of the habit of sending love notes. The giver prepared these lovely handmade cards specifically for the recipient to express their affection. Typically, cards would include poetic language that praised the recipient’s beauty and expressed how much they were adored.

Cards for Saint Valentine’s Day were embellished with illustrations of Cupid, hearts, and flowers and finished with lace & ribbon. These symbols of love are still in use today and are well-known worldwide.

What does Valentine’s Day mean in the modern era?

Although Valentine’s Day is observed in most nations, several civilizations have created their customs for this holiday. Valentine’s Day is celebrated in various regions worldwide to show love to family and friends rather than romantic partners. Other customs involve friends showing each other thanks with small presents and candies for the kids.

Billions of Valentine’s Day cards are sent out every year, making romantic love the most popular Valentine’s Day association. Couples spend special time together, and gifts of flowers or a lone red rose are sent to loved ones along with loving words.

Many couples decide to have supper, go on a picnic, or prepare a special home-cooked meal to honor Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day dinner specials are widely available at restaurants, and cuisine is frequently served with romantic symbols like hearts & flowers. A luxurious hotel stays in a picturesque setting is another well-liked Valentine’s Day activity that enables a couple to unwind and spend some precious time together. 

Valentine’s Day is a common day for marriage proposals, and it’s frequently picked as the ideal occasion to declare one’s love and devotion. Some marriage proposals are made inventively, such as by displaying a message on a billboard or after reaching the summit of a mountain. Whatever the manner, Valentine’s Day marriage proposals are often sentimental and unforgettable.

Is Valentine’s Day a holiday?

Although Valentine’s Day is widely observed in various ways, it is no longer a recognized Catholic holiday. Regrettably, for all the romantics nowadays, it is also not a recognized bank holiday or Day off from work (though you may always take a day off for a special day with your significant other!).