The History of Valentine’s day

(Photo Source:


Candy hearts, red roses, and Valentine’s day cards are all popular ways of showing your love for someone on Valentine’s day. But where did this holiday come from and why do we celebrate it today?

Valentine’s day can be dated back to the end of the fifth century when people used to celebrate the Roman festival of Lupercalia which was held in mid-February. According to Britannica, the festival of Lupercalia celebrated the season of spring and during the festival, people would pair off men and women using a lottery system. At the end of the fifth century, a pope named Gelasius replaced the festival with the name St. Valentine’s Day. Since then, February has been celebrated as the month of love.

The name of the holiday could be linked back to several different martyrs, someone who was killed for their religion, named Valentine. Each man had an interesting story behind them making it debatable about who the holiday was actually named after. The most common story is about a St. Valentine who defied the king’s orders and secretly married couples to spare men from war.

Now that we know where the holiday originated, we wonder where the modern gifts and traditions come from. Most gifts like jewelry, chocolate, or a stuffed animal are given to show your appreciation for somebody, but many of these gifts have interesting stories behind them.

According to The Smithsonian, Candy hearts were first invented by Necco, but were originally shaped like shells that had small messages written on paper placed inside like a fortune cookie. After many shape changes, they finally landed on a heart that was larger than their current hearts and they had longer sayings written inside. Finally, they moved to the smaller classic hearts with shorter sayings stamped on with red dye like “love you” or “call me.” These candies were so popular that they still make them today.

Another interesting tradition is red roses. Red roses are a common gift among couples on Valentine’s day, but why are they associated with love? Red roses have been a symbol of love for a long time, and according to Proflowers, it was originally associated with Greek and Roman history where it was tied back to Aphrodite, or Venus, who is the goddess of love. The red rose is a classic symbol of love. Today, people still give red roses as gifts and use them for bigger romantic gestures as well.

One last interesting gift given on Valentine’s day are valentines. It is obvious that these cards are an opportunity to write to others and tell them how you feel about them, but where did modern valentines come from? According to History extra, the first valentines were made in the 18th century. These slowly developed into what we use today.

Valentine’s day has grown and changed over the years, while carrying some interesting yet classic traditions along with it. We celebrate Valentine’s Day because it gives us an opportunity to take time out of our day to enjoy love and commitment. This year, even if you don’t want to buy any of these gifts, you should still show your love and appreciation for someone close to you.