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The origin of Valentine’s Day

The+origin+of+Valentines+Day
Daniela Gonzalez

Valentine’s Day is approaching; a whole day is dedicated to celebrating those we love, showing love, receiving love, and the very idea of love

This begs the question: why do we celebrate love on February 14? Why do we celebrate by giving flowers and chocolates? Where does this tradition come from and who decided it? 

The origin of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a Christian adaptation of the Lupercalia festival of ancient Rome. 

Originally, Lupercalia was a festival of fertility and passion, to celebrate Faunus, the God of fertility, and Romulus and Remus (Rome founders) as well. Some of the traditions of Lupercalia were rituals in which names were put in a jar and then drawn to couple the men and women. 

Lupercalia’s festivals took place on February 15 and Christians adapted to February 14. Within Christianity, primarily within the Catholic church specifically, they used the day to celebrate the saint Valentine. 

According to a legend, Valentine was a Roman Catholic priest who performed weddings for soldiers who were prohibited from getting married. When he was going to be executed for this crime, he was able to miraculously heal the daughter of his jailer, who then converted to Christianity along with his family.  For this reason, he is associated with the love holiday.

Cupid is the Roman version of Eros, the god of love in Greek mythology. He is portrayed on Valentine’s Day as a naked cherub launching using golden arrows to incite love and leaden ones to sow aversion at unsuspecting lovers.

The traditions of sending love letters or gifts took place in the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By 1900, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Americans began exchanging cards in the early 1700s and still do today.

Gifts for your Valentine

The traditions of sending love letters or gifts took place in the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By 1900, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Americans began exchanging cards in the early 1700s and still do today.

Some ideas for Valentine’s gifts could be 

  • Flowers. Red roses symbolize passionate love, while pink roses symbolize the love of friendship; this makes flowers a great way to show love to a romantic partner or friend. Gifting flowers might seem too cliche, but they never lose their charm; both men and women can enjoy nice flowers.
  • Handwritten letters. Sometimes the little details are the biggest ones, and there is a unique charm to a heartfelt message from someone special.
  • Their favorite candy. While chocolates are typically a safe choice, you can make the treat even sweeter by showing you remembered their favorite candy.
  • Something your valentine has mentioned needing or wanting. While this item might not be the traditional chocolates and flowers, it will surely make that special person smile. Not only does your valentine get something they like, but they know that you listen to what they say.

With a new knowledge of the origin of Valentine’s Day, enjoy celebrating the holiday with someone you love!

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Daniela Gonzalez, Staff Writer

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