History and Celebration of Valentine’s Day

The history of Valentine’s Day, a few facts to make the day more interesting, and creative ways to celebrate with your significant other or on your own. In this article you will find the history and celebration Valentine’s Day.

There are cheesy cardboard pop-out cards on the back of Twinkies boxes. At Rite Aid down the street, it’s apparent that Cupid has flown in and decorated with pink and red hearts. It’s that time of year again: Valentine’s Day is coming up, and no matter whether you’ve been shot by a love-tipped arrow or you can’t stand the smell of roses, armed with a little knowledge, you can make the most of the holiday, whether you’re attached or single.

Here is some facts about history and celebration of Valentine’s Day.

History of Valentine’s Day

In ancient Rome, February 14th was devoted to Juno, goddess of women and marriage and queen of Roman deities. The 15th began the Festival of Lupercalia, which honored Lupercus, god of shepherds, and averted evil spirits to purify the city, thereby releasing health and fertility. During the Festival of Lupercalia, the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into a jar. Young men would draw a girl’s name from the jar, and the two would be partners for the duration of the festival. The pairing sometimes lasted throughout the year, and, often, the two would fall in love and later marry.

Saint Valentine’s Day has roots in the pagan Festival of Lupercalia, but the Catholic Church has since Christianized the holiday. The Church acknowledges three historical Saint Valentines: One a Roman priest, another a bishop in Terni, and a third whose work was in Africa. It is said that all were martyred on February 14th, but scholars believe that the Saint Valentine of third century Rome is the figure that has come to represent Valentine’s Day.

According to legend, Saint Valentine preached under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, known as ‘Claudius the Cruel,’ who, in an effort to strengthen his army, outlawed the marriage of young Roman men. Saint Valentine, who believed this policy unfair, chose to marry young couples in secret. When Emperor Claudius discovered Valentine, the Emperor had Valentine beheaded.

Another story says that the jailer’s daughter befriended Valentine during his imprisonment. Saint Valentine supposedly left a note for his friend: He signed it “From Your Valentine.”

Others believe that Saint Valentine was martyred simply for refusing to denounce Christianity. No matter, Saint Valentine of Rome was beheaded on February 14th, 269 A.D. In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius set aside the 14th in honor of Saint Valentine.

Valentine’s Day has evolved over the centuries – it was in 18th century England that the giving of gifts and hand-made cards became popular.  The tradition eventually spread ot the American colonies, but it was not until 1850 that Valentines became widespread in the United States.

Celebration of Valentine’s Day

There’s no law that says that February 14th has to be celebrated with crepe paper hearts and a dozen long-stemmed roses! Consider these creative suggestions to make your Valentine’s day special, whether you are with your significant other or your closest friends.

Attached? Do something special for your sweetie! Make him or her breakfast, and include some heart-shaped pancakes. Plan a romantic scavenger hunt together, make a list of reasons why you love each other, take a surprise trip, make a coloring book of your memories, or just watch the sunset together.

Single? Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Remember the ones that love you: Send cards to your friends and family. Follow suit of other American women, and send flowers to yourself. Better yet, pamper yourself with a hot bath and a trip to the spa! Don’t spend the day alone; go out with friends. Hit the clubs together, or throw an Anti-Valentine’s Day party. Just remember that Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, and be proud that you can spend that $123 on yourself!