The Origins of Valentine's Day

Category: Spiritual Community
Published on Tuesday, 01 February 2011 16:42
Written by D.V. Lawrence
The origin of Valentines Day is shrouded in mystery but most likely has its roots in early Roman pagan celebrations and the activities of early Roman Christians

Valentinus was a popular Roman name and the Church claimed at least three saints by that name.  One story has it that in the 3rd century Emperor Claudius II felt soldiers should not be 
married. It tends to put a damper on the willingness to die. But a Christian priest named Valentine performed secret marriages for young lovers and was put to death for his kindness. Another story has the young imprisoned Valentine falling in love with the jailors daughter and sending her a letter signed “from your Valentine”.     

s,By the middle age the romantic appeal of this early Christian figure appealed to the people of England and France and hebecame one of their more popular saints.             

The early Romans also celebrated the Lupercalia Festival on February 15. As part of the celebration, the young single women would place their names in a large urn. The bachelors then drew a name out. These couples would stay together for a year and the attachments often ended in marriage. 

Around 498 AD,  Pope 
Gelasius decided to declare February 14 St. Valentines day and eventually the Roman practice of the Love Lottery was considered un-Christian and outlawed. 

Valentines Day began to hit its stride in 17th Century Britain, when friends and lovers began to exchange written notes and tokens of affection.  In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass produced valentines in America.