Valentine’s Day

​How did Valentine’s Day begin and who was St. Valentine? The real story, facts and history behind February 14

Many of us associate the ‘most romantic day of the year’ with flowers and cards, but what’s the real reason we celebrate?

It’s renowned for being the ‘most romantic day of the year’.

And many of us use it as an opportunity to show affection for our loved ones with cards, flowers or chocolates.
But why exactly do we celebrate Valentine’s Day and why does it fall on February 14?

Well I’ve trawled through the history books to find out the real reasons so you don’t have to – and the background casts a very different light on the holiday.
How did Valentine’s Day begin?

Valentine’s Day chocolate treats

Valentine’s Day is an old tradition thought to have originated from a Roman Festival known as Lupercalia, according to
It was held on February 15 as a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture.
During the celebrations boys would draw names of girls from a box and the pair would be partners during the festival.
These matches often led to marriage.
The festival survived the initial rise of Christianity but was outlawed at the end of the 5th century when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St Valentine’s Day.
Chaucer may have actually made it all up Geoffrey Chaucer might not look it but he’s Mr Lover Man, sort of Chaucer, as in The Canterbury Tales writer, may have actually been behind Valentine’s Day. The medieval English poet took quite a few liberties with history. He’d drop his poetic characters into real-life historical events leaving readers wondering if that’s what really happened.
There is no actual record of Valentine’s Day before Chaucer’s poem in 1375. It’s in Parliament of Foules that he links the tradition of courtly love to the St Valentine’s feast day – the tradition didn’t exist until after his poem.
The poem refers to February 14 as the day of birds coming together to find a mate. “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” he wrote and maybe invented Valentine’s Day as we now know it.

Who was St Valentine?

Saint Valentine

The St Valentine that inspired the holiday may have been more than one man.

The saint officially recognised by the Roman Catholic Church was a real person who died around AD 270.

An account from 1400s describes Valentine as a priest who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed.

The emperor had banned marriage as he thought single men made better soldiers. Valentine felt this was unfair so he celebrated marriages in secret. When the emperor found out he was thrown in jail and sentenced to death.

St. Valentine the international man of mystery

He may also have been Bishop of Terni, also martyred by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome. There are similarities between the priest’s and bishop’s stories, which leads people to believe they are the same man.

There’s so much confusion around St Valentine that the Church stopped veneration of him in 1969 – though he is still listed as an official saint.

“Valentinus” is from the Latin word for worthy, strong or powerful, and was a popular name between the second and eighth centuries AD meaning there are several martyrs with the same name. There are actually a dozen Valentines listed and there’s even a Pope Valentine. The actual day we celebrate is known as St Valentine of Rome to set him apart.
What does he really have to do with love?

Valentine did help marry couples in secret, which is arguably very romantic. He is the patron saint of beekeepers and epilepsy among other the plague, fainting and travelling. That doesn’t stop people calling on his help for those romantically involved. He’s now also patron of engaged couples and happy marriages.
Why is his skull kept in Rome?

Yes, that’s right. St Valentine’s skull is housed and adorned in flowers in Rome. It’s actually on display in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.
It was found when people were excavating a catacomb near Rome in the early 1800s. The skeletal remains and other relics now associated with St Valentine were dug up. It’s the norm for these to be split and distributed to reliquaries – places that keep relics – around the world. If you wanted to see other parts of the saint, he’s on display in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, England and France.
Why do we give Valentine’s cards?

Another idea is that when he was sent to prison, he sent a letter to a young girl he had fallen in love with and signed it “From your Valentine”.
It’s thought this was the first ever Valentine’s Day greeting.

35 Valentine’s Day cards and funny quotes you might not want to read on February 14th
Why is always celebrated on February 14?

Some believe that Valentine’s Day’s is celebrated mid-February to mark the anniversary of St Valentine’s death.
It’s thought to have happened in the middle of the month around 270 AD.
Others maintain that the Christian church decided to place St Valentine’s feast day at this time of the year in an effort to ‘Christianise’ the pagan festival of Lupercalia.

Why are roses associated with Valentine’s Day?

Roses have been the symbol of love since the early 1700s when Charles II of Sweden brought the Persian poetical art known as the “language of flowers” to Europe.

Throughout the 18th century, ladies loved their floral dictionaries, which listed the symbolic meanings of different flowers, according to

The red rose was believed to be the flower favoured by Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love, and has therefore come to represent that.

Why cupid?

Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, affection and attraction. He is the son of Venus, goddess of love, and war god Mars. Cupid in Latin is ‘amor’, which means love.
When did Valentine’s Day become commercial?

This is so not who I wanted a card from…

It wasn’t until the 18th century that Valentine’s Day took off in England. Lovers began to send trinkets, cards and flowers to their loved ones. A huge amount of printed cards would get sold, then in 1913 Hallmark Cards in Kansas City began mass producing specific Valentine’s Day cards. Now about a billion cards are sold every year and it’s the second biggest card sending time of the whole year.
Why do we sign cards anonymously?
It was the Victorian that started sending roses – thanks guys

Apart from the embarrassment, there was an actual tradition started by the Victorians. They thought it was bad luck to sign the cards with their actual names. It was also the Victorians that sent roses as they were Venus’ favourite flower.
Happy Valentine’s Day 2017

You Don’t need a Valentine to Celebrate Valentine day

I will be single this Valentine’s Day along with thousands of other men. And I’m okay with that.

I’m okay with it because being single on this day is not something to be ashamed or embarrassed about. In fact, I think it calls for a celebration.

While couples will celebrate their love on this day and probably post an annoying amount of photos to prove it (sorry, but it’s true), us single people should be celebrating not only our love for who we have in our lives, but our love for ourselves.

After all, Valentine’s Day is not called the day of couples, or the day of relationships. It’s called the day of love. And who wouldn’t want to celebrate that?

Instead of having high expectations of what your boyfriend or girlfriend would plan for you on this day, you get to plan a day for yourself. Instead of being incredibly happy with another person, be incredibly happy with yourself. Instead of having to spend your hard earned money on a significant other, you get to choose how you spend your money, if any at all.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful feeling to be in love with another person but it’s also empowering as hell to be able to have the confidence and maturity to really love yourself wholeheartedly.

This Valentine’s Day is the day of celebrating you (although, everyday should be the day of celebrating you). You can sleep in and have all the covers to yourself. You can make your own breakfast the way you like it. You can plan brunch or dinner with your friends and not feel an ounce of pressure. You can even buy some real chocolate instead of those dumb chocolate roses (just kidding, they are kind of cute).

Everyone has at least one person that they can share their fears and thoughts to. Everyone has at least one person that they feel safe with. And if you don’t feel like you have anybody, you will always have yourself. And that is pretty amazing.

Many people despise Valentine’s Day. Maybe because it sometimes makes us feel like we are all alone, or like we are less cool or beautiful because of that. But we don’t have to feel this way every time we are single on February 14th. Because in reality, we aren’t alone!

Everyone has at least one person that they can share their fears and thoughts with. Everyone has at least one person that they feel safe with. And if you don’t feel like you have anybody, you will always have yourself. And that is pretty amazing. Valentine’s Day is just another day in a year. Valentine’s Day is just another day in your life. Valentine’s Day is 24 hours that you will live through: so why not live?

And live it well. Stop and look around at your surroundings. Really think about your life and how far you have come from your past struggles. Breathe in and let your lungs be filled with hope. Be happy you have the opportunity to live today. And be grateful for who you have in your life, not what you don’t have in your life. There is no difference between February 14th and February 15th except for your mentality (and the fact that on February 15th chocolate goes on sale). So, take full advantage of this day because it is a day in your life. And it could be a fantastic day if you let it.