The History of Saint Valentine’s Day

By: Nicole Stocker

February 14th is Saint Valentine’s day, which is often considered to be a day of love. Growing up, I would give my classmates cards and candy. This holiday is also known for romance in couples. This famous February holiday has been stereotyped as the day where you take someone you love on a date or give your significant other valentine’s day gifts. Well, the foundation history of Saint Valentine is a little more complex than what we are used to celebrating today. 

In fact, St Valentine’s day is a catholic holiday representing the feast day of Saint Valentine. Saint Valentine was beheaded on February 14th 269 AD. One story says he was performing marriages after the institution of marriage was outlawed by Roman Emperor Claudius II to keep soldiers in his army. (History Editors) Another says he was captured and fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. (Petruzzello)

Keep in mind, Saint Valentine was beheaded before Roman Emperor, Constantine, influenced the conversion of the Roman Empire from pagan to Christianity in 336 A.D. (Acreman) This holiday was also very close to the pagan celebration of Lupercalia which took place around the 15th of February annually. (Petruzzello) Lupercalia has been documented to celebrate the Roman pagan god fertility, love, and agriculture.   There are said to be three different versions of Saint Valentine in catholic documents which all seem to end in the execution of Saint Valentine. (History Editors) So, while you buy or receive chocolates and flowers, just know you are being treated better on February 14th than this Catholic saint of love was treated in 269 A.D.

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