Where did Valentine’s Day really come from? Was it made up by companies for money? How long has it been around?
We start way back in the year 496 when the very first Valentine’s Day occurred. It is thought to have originated from a Roman festival, Lupercalia, in mid-February marking the start of their springtime. During this festival, boys drew names of girls out of a box and they were boyfriend and girlfriend for that day, some even got married!
Later, the church changed it into a Christian festival and was used to celebrate st. Valentine too! St Valentine’s Day was previously a Christian festival. However Pope Gelasius I combined the two. St Valentine’s Day in the Christian church was to honour two men, both executed by Emperor Claudius II, both named Valentine, on February 14th in the 3rd century AD.
However, it was deemed ‘un-christian’ at the end of the 5th century and outlawed. Then, during the Middle Ages, it was often thought of as the start of birds’ mating season. Written Valentine’s weren’t introduced until the 1400s, and the oldest known Valentine is a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife.
Valentine’s Day gained popularity in the 17th century, and by the 18th century, it was common to exchange handwritten notes or small tokens of affection. Soon, printed cards replaced these handwritten notes as technology advanced, this made it faster and easier to send Valentines than ever before.
Today, around 145 million Valentine’s cards are sent every year, making it the second largest card-sending holiday, second to Christmas.
Happy Valentines Day!