History of Valentine’s Day


A heart.

Nathan Otazu, Staff Writer

Every February 14 Valentines day happens, which means love, flowers, and chocolate. Yet, many people don’t know how Valentine’s Day actually began or who Saint Valentine was. This holiday used to be celebrated for religious reasons, but now it is more a celebration of romance and Americans spend big money on this holiday.

According to History.com, Lupercalia is an ancient pagan festival that was celebrated on February 15 and many historians believe it was this holiday that Valentine’s Day was based on. One can say the festival had a violent aura and somewhat strange parts to the festival, like ritualistic animal sacrifices and nudity. During this holiday, people would be randomly matched up into couples to ward off evil spirits and to encourage fertility. Also, the ritual usually occurred at different locations in Rome, like the Lupercal Cave, Palatine Hill, and in the Comitum, a public meeting place

Finally, how the holiday got its name: Saint Valentine, the mysterious man. There are many stories told about this man. According to History.com, “One Saint Valentine was supposedly a Roman priest who performed secret weddings against the wishes of the authorities in the third century. Imprisoned in the home of a noble, he healed his captor’s blind daughter, causing the whole household to convert to Christianity and sealing his fate.” However, before the authorities tortured and decapitated him, he sent a note to the girl he’d healed and signed it “Your Valentine.” This all occurred on February 14.  

Today, not much thought is given to these origins as students tend to focus on writing each other nice messages and sharing sweets. Gavin Pekar, a seventh grade McAuliffe Middle School student, who bought a Valentine gram added, “ I bought the Valentines gram for my friend  and it was about $1 dollar.” These were sold on campus in the weeks leading up to the holiday and the proceeds will benefit the McAuliffe band department. 

Hopefully, all McAuliffe students enjoy today, Valentine’s Day, and share their love and appreciation with someone close to them, and of course, all sorts of sweets.