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History of Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day has always beenthe day dedicated to lovers. There are many stories as to how Valentine’s daystarted. Here are a few of them.


Valentine’s Day has its originsin the Roman festival of Lupercalia, observed on Feb.15. Lupercalia celebrated the coming of Spring in theRoman calendar (February was observed later in the year than it is today). Lupercalia was associated with the Roman gods Lupercus and Faunus. Lupercus watched over shepherds and their flocks and thefestival of Lupercalia became a celebration intendedto ensure the fertility of flocks, fields and people.

The celebration of Lupercalia transformed and spread as the Roman Empire grew.When the Romans conquered France, it was then that the first Valentine-likecards may have been exchanged. Apparently, a container in which women hadplaced their names (possibly accompanied by love notes) was used in a lottery.Men drawing a women’s name would either seek or were guaranteed that woman’s favors.

Saint Valentine’s Day

The legend of St. Valentine stemsfrom real-life martyrs from the Roman Empire known as Valentines. It is unsurewho was the St. Valentine, but there are two possible candidates. One of theseValentines is believed to have been a Roman priest and physician. He was killedin the third century, during the persecutions of the Emperor Claudius II. Afterhis death this Valentine was buried in the Roman road Via Flaminia.Pope Julius I is said to have later built a basilica above his grave. A secondSaint Valentine candidate, believed to be a bishop of Teni( a province in central Italy), was executed in Rome.

These men’s status comes fromlegends of harboring Christians from persecution,curing the blindness of a cell keeper’s daughter, and conducting marriageswhile they were forbidden during times of war. It is this, along with thetraditions of Lupercalia, that came together to honor St. Valentine as the patron saint of lovers.

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