Believe it or not, Valentine’s Day was not created by the greeting card companies. While no one knows for sure how this day became such a big holiday, there are several historical events that may have contributed to the day’s success.
Historians believe Valentine’s Day started in ancient Rome as the Feast of Lupercalia, a fertility festival celebrated on February 15th. After the celebrations of the holiday, single young men and women would pair up based on a lottery system. While many of those pairings did often lead to marriage, the custom was later deemed un-Christian. This pagan celebration was ended when Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as St. Valentine’s day around 498 AD.
St. Valentine was a priest during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. There were many wars during this time and soldiers were hard to come by, so the emperor decided no one was allowed to get married in Rome again. St. Valentine secretly married many couples until he was caught and put to death on February 14, about 270 AD. He was named a saint posthumously.
Another version of the legend of Valentine’s Day involves Valentinus. He was a prisoner who fell in love with the jailer’s daughter who would visit him. Before his death he wrote a farewell letter to his sweetheart and signed it ‘From your Valentine’.
Regardless of which story you choose to believe, everyone agrees that Valentine’s Day is a day to spend time with your loved ones.