A Complete History of Valentines Day

By  | 

The history of Valentine’s day originated with the compassionate priest Saint Valentine, right? Not exactly. The truth is, the holiday’s history is likely far more complex than you’ve heard. 

Remarkably, a holiday with such an obscure history generates a lot of money every year. People spent between $175 and $210 dollars this past Valentine’s day on gifts and candy. 

Are you curious to know more about Valentine’s day background and why we celebrate it the way we do? That’s why we’re here to help. 

The History of Valentine’s Day

The history of Valentine’s day is shrouded in myth and legend. Discovering the facts surrounding the mysterious holiday is somewhat tricky. However, there is no shortage of tales and stories regarding its foundation.

Pope Gelasius the First started Valentine’s day in the 5th century C.E. Pope Gelasius the First wished to sanctify the pagan practices of sexual excess and fertility rituals.  

Although, in the 20th century, the Catholic Church renounced the holiday due to its unfounded history. There are many disagreements about which Saint Valentine/Valentinus the day is in honor of, so the holiday is no longer a holy day. 

The Greek and Roman Origin

Valentine’s day is supposedly based on the ancient Roman and Greek holiday Lupercalia. However, this holiday is far from romantic by modern standards and was not about human fertility. 

There is little evidence to support the rumors that folks paired off with lovers or exchanged cards. The holiday encouraged fertility among the shepherd’s sheep and goats. 

During this holiday, Roman and Greek men would sacrifice puppies and goats. After, the men would strip naked and wear the pelt of the sacrificial goats. 

All in all, this holiday was not about human sexuality and seemed to focus more on the fertility of animals. In later years, it may be that this focus on fertility influenced the sexual and romantic aspects of the holiday. However, they were undoubtedly very different. 

The Religious and Poetic Origins

Saint Valentine was the patron saint with whom Gelasius the First wanted to replace the pagan holiday. Who this man is, however, is more complicated. 

Some claim he was a bishop in the early days of Christianity in the Roman empire who married Roman Centurions. No one knows for sure if this was true or if Bishop Valentine opposed it. The records are based mainly on religious records written centuries later. 

Other legends include Saint Valentine handing lover’s notes between jailed Christians. Or that he was a persecuted saint who wrote letters to his church where he signed off, “Your Valentine.” This is the supposed origin of Valentine’s day cards and Valentine’s day gifts. 

Again, however, these legends are not founded on many hard historical records. Many of the practices we associate with the holiday came much later. Poets and writers elaborated the myths to make them more romantic and familiar to us today. 

One thing is certain, Valentine’s day is a difficult time for many single people. This has been true for at least the past 100-200 years as the holiday became increasingly romantic. Click here if you’re looking for some single Valentine’s day ideas. There’s no reason not to enjoy yourself!

The Real History of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day history is complicated, much like the holiday itself. Many people struggle with the seemingly forced romantic atmosphere and pressure from society.

The good news is you do not need to celebrate it this way. As we’ve seen, the ancient Greeks and Romans used to celebrate it by wearing a goat pelt. So, how can anyone say you’re doing it wrong?

The real history of Valentine’s day is complicated, but the way you celebrate it need not be. Go and have a good time!

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply