The Origin Of Valentine’s Day

A lot of people celebrate Valentine’s Day. (Or if you are like me and you are single, this holiday is most likely S.A.D –ย  Singles Awareness Day.) But have you ever wondered why we celebrate it, and who this Valentine guy was? Well, wonder no more! (Click the links at the end of the quotes if you want to view the whole article where I found the information. ๐Ÿ˜‰)

Image Credit: Pixabay

The history behind it is actually quite dark. Two people with the name of Valentine were martyred in different years in Ancient Rome on that day. The Catholic church recognized them as saints. And at this time, Lupercalia was already established by the ancient Romans to be celebrated from February 13th through the 15th. So, what is that celebrating?

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Lupercalia was a very ancient, possibly pre-Roman pastoral annual festival, observed in the city of Rome on February 15, to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility.ย Lupercalia was also called “dies Februatus”, purified (literally “februated day”) after the instruments of purification called “februa”, which give the month of February (Februarius) its name. – Wikipedia on Lupercalia

Killing two birds with one stone: Now we know where February got itsย name from too…

Image Credit: Pixabay

Anyway…

The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival โ€” or longer, if the match was right. – NPR

So… that’s awful. Those poor women. I don’t even want to think about it.

Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, “It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.”

Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin’s Day. Galatin meant “lover of women.” That was likely confused with St. Valentine’s Day at some point, in part because they sound alike. –ย NPR

This sort of sounds like what happened withย Christmas. Take a pagan holiday and combine it with a Christian holiday in an attempt to convert people. Or in this case, try to twist the pagan holiday to make it “Christian”.

Then I was curious about how the Valentine Cards were started:

Another embellishment suggests that Saint Valentine performed clandestine Christian weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. The Roman Emperor Claudius II supposedly forbade this in order to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers.ย  However, George Monger writes that this marriage ban was never issued and that Claudius II told his soldiers to take two or three women for themselves after his victory over the Goths.

According to legend, in order “to remind these men of their vows and Godโ€™s love, Saint Valentine is said to have cut hearts from parchment”, giving them to these soldiers and persecuted Christians, a possible origin of the widespread use of hearts on St. Valentine’s Day. – Wikipedia on Valentine’s Day

So that’s how Valentine’s Day got its start
And how people started sending Valentine’sย Day hearts.
I do hope that you enjoyed and learned something new
Happy Valentine’s Day (or Singles Awareness Day) to you!

๐Ÿ’˜

29 thoughts on “The Origin Of Valentine’s Day

  1. This makes me feel a bit sad about this holiday now, despite it being the truth. I have a friend that said the holiday is about mob bosses that really killed my joy already. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ However, I can’t turn my ears from hearing the truth about our history, and I do not want to mesh Christian Faith with secular and demonic means neither. However, I thank you for giving me a deeper understanding about the history of Valentine’s Day. My friend, on the other hand, is more of a holiday spoiled sport that will ruin any best day that I have, even if it was on my birthday a month ago… which he has.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. God’s love is a power that powers life and the reason to be. We believers in unity of God’s love are a stabilizing force for the rest of the world. Thank you Grace for being a part of the family of God. I wish you a Happy Valentine’s day and contentment in your current situation of singleness.
    Your Bro in Christ and fellow single, not s.a.d. but glad in Christ and his calling today.
    Denny

    Liked by 4 people

    • Amen! โค

      ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm glad to be in the family and glad that you are in it too.

      Thank you; I hope that you had a wonderful day too. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I'm glad that you're not s.a.d… maybe we should call it g.l.a.d.? God's Love Awareness Day?

      Blessings!

      Like

  3. I was going to write the origin of this day as part of my Origin series, but I did not get to it in time because of clashing schedules with my writing and work. I’m glad you did, though! This was excellent research.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Ohh wow, I had no idea this was how Valentine’s Day was started!! It’s so strange how we can take pagan holidays like that and make them modern. Pretty awful. This was so interesting though! I’d never thought about looking up how it all began (:

    Liked by 2 people

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