History of Valentine’s Day


Anjie He, Contributor

The month of February is known for one specific holiday celebrated across the United States and in other parts of the world. That day is known as Valentine’s Day, which usually occurs every February 14. On this day, gifts such as flowers and chocolates are exchanged between couples. And it is heavily based around the idea of love. Yet the history behind Valentine’s day says otherwise.

The holiday is associated Christian and ancient Roman traditions. The origins behind this holiday comes from the Catholic church. One legend talks about Valentine, who was a priest during the third century in Rome. An emperor at the time decided that single men would make better soldiers than those with wives and children. Making marriage illegal, for young men in order to be soldiers. However, Valentine continued to perform marriages for people secretly. When the emperor found out, Valentine was to be put to death!

Other stories suggested that Valentine was killed, because he was helping the Christians escape the harsh Roman prisons. It was said that when Christians were in these prisons, they were often beaten and tortured. Another story mentions Valentine as a prisoner from the Roman prisons, who wrote love letters to a young girl that he fell in love with. Wh0 was supposedly his jailor’s daughter.

In summary, majority of the legends are based around the person, Valentine. And it showed the person as a heroic figure. The day was celebrated as the anniversary of Valentine’s death. A festival, known as a Pagan festival came to be. With Roman priests slapping women, and crop fields, with a goat hide, because it was believed that this would make women more fertile in the future. Women in the city would then place their names in an urn, and the city bachelors, would choose a name from the urn. The name would be their partner for a year. Which usually end with marriages….. Today, the holiday is celebrated as a day of love. Yet the history is not so clear. Chance, fear, and secrecy make more sense…..love…..maybe.