The History of Valentine’s Day

Every year across the United States, and other countries, on February the 14th, people celebrate Valentine’s Day. The tradition honors love, and commonly, couples exchange sweet gifts such as flowers, chocolates, and cards. But why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day? What is its history?

Unlike other holidays, Valentine’s Day lacks a conclusive explantation for its creation. There are many theories on the origin of Valentine’s Day but historians still argue about which one is actually true. The most accepted theory comes from The Catholic Church. A priest by the name of Valentine served in Rome during the 3rd Century. Claudius II, reigning emperor at the time, believed that single men made better soldiers than those with families. He forbade young men from getting married. Recognizing the injustic of the law, Valentine defied Claudius and proceeded to marry couples in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, he was killed.

So why is Valentines Day on February the 14th? It is believed Valentine died or was buried onĀ  February the 14th, around 270 A.D. So to commemorate Valentine, The Catholic Church made a holiday called St. Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day was said to grow in popularity through Britian and Europe thanks to Shakespeare and Chaucer. They romanticized the holiday and very quickly hand-made paper love letters were being sent between lovers on that day.

Gift-giving evolved in the 19th century as resources became more accessible. People now give their significant others flowers, jewelery, chocolates, and many other gifts around the theme of love. Through commercialization, businesses are now making millions of dollars a year, and in 2022, spending in the USA reached 23.9 billion.

Remember this when you spend time with your loved ones tomorrow.