Every February 14th, millions of flowers, gifts, candies, and cards exchange hands around the world, all in the name of love.
From Pagan to Roman
Today's Valentine’s Day is named after Saint Valentine, a Catholic priest who lived in Roman times. But in truth, the holiday was celebrated before St. Valentine was even born.
Its roots can be traced back to the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, which took place mid-February and was a fertility festival in honour of Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture.
With the rise of Christianity, the holiday was renamed in honour of St. Valentine who was by then already declared the patron saint of lovers.
St. Valentine is also the patron saint of beekeepers
Valentine, who lived in 3rd century Rome, performed marriages between Roman soldiers and their loved ones against strict laws that were put in place by Emperor Claudius II, who believed that Roman soldiers should be devoted to Rome first and their loved ones second.
St. Valentine married these soldiers in secret and paid for his actions with his life.
The birth of medieval chivalry and romantic love
Valentine’s Day as we know it was finally shaped a few centuries later, with the rise of romantic love and the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, who first linked the Roman saint to romantic love.
Expressing your love through romantic messages in specially decorated, handmade cards became Valentine’s Day tradition and is still in practice today.
In fact, Valentine’s is one of the top 3 holidays when it comes to sending cards, with hundreds of millions of Valentine’s Day cards sent each year.
Why do we still celebrate it?
Valentine’s Day is traditionally associated with romantic love, but it is slowly becoming more inclusive with people celebrating friendship, self love and the bonds they share with their pets.
In truth, Valentine’s Day is the only holiday that lets you freely choose who you want to celebrate with.
There are time-tested classics like chocolates, roses and cards, but there’s also pizza and movies and long afternoon walks. Or maybe just a cup of tea with some cuddling on the couch. As long as you do it with love, the choice is yours.