The Origins of Valentine’s Day

The Origins of Valentine's Day

Victoria Lamoureux

Pink and red hearts, roses, and chocolate gifts are starting to appear! As many of you could guess, these elements are signatures to the upcoming holiday known as Valentine’s Day. While we celebrate this day with our friends, families, and significant others, how many of us actually know the true origins of Valentine’s Day?

In fact, although somewhat obscure, the origins are rather interesting. Valentine’s Day can be traced to both Christian and Roman traditions. The pagan Roman festival Lupercalia that took place mid-February welcomed spring and coupled young men and women. However, the common legend of St. Valentine is more well known where Valentine secretly married couples against the emperor’s orders and was put to death on February 14.

In reality there are actually three Catholic saints named Valentine who all happened to be martyrs. In addition to the other St. Valentine, Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, was executed by the same emperor as the previous one and on the same day.

Yet another story says that an imprisoned Valentine helped Christians escape torturous punishments where he fell in love and sent the first “valentine”. Either way, whichever version you choose to believe still has significant meaning and can be credited with the legend and creation of Valentine’s day.