valentines day

The Passionate History of Valentines Day – February 14th

history of valentines day

History of Valentines Day: The Love Holiday

The History of Valentines Day is like many holidays – a mixture of Roman Pagan Celebrations, Christian History, and pure natural coincidence. Lupercalia where ancient Romans were matched up with potential lovers, to the story of the Catholic Priest Valentine (who died in the name of love-on February the 14th), and that birds naturally start to choose their mates at about the time of February 14th.

History of Valentines Day: The Holiday of Cards

Cards are also often sent on holidays. Millions of Christmas cars are mailed each year. Halloween cards are always fun to send. But we do not give cards on every holiday. Usually, cards are not sent on holidays such as Columbus Day, 4th of July, or Martin Luther King, Jr Day.

Yet there is one holiday especially known for cards. These cards have words about love or friendship. Often, they are red or pink. Some have hearts on them. They are called valentines. Many people make their own valentines. Other people buy them in stores.

You can give a valentine card to anyone you care about. Children may give them to friends. Parents may give them to their children. Grandparents may give them to their grandchildren. Some people even give their pets valentines.

People send Valentine cards each year on February 14, Valentine’s Day. It is not the same kind of holiday as Presidents’ Day. Schools are open on Valentine’s Day. So are banks and businesses. Mail carriers are especially busy that day. They deliver tons of valentines.

Valentine’s Day is a special time. It is a day for friendship and caring. It is a holiday about love.

The History of Valentines Day: Early Beginnings

Valentine’s Day is not a new holiday. People have celebrated it for hundreds of years. Yet no one is sure exactly how Valentine’s Day started.

It may have started with the ancient Romans. They lived over 2000 years ago in the country of Italy. Each year on February 15, they held a special celebration known as the festival of Lupercalia. The festival honored the Roman god Lupercus. The Romans believed that Lupercus protected them from wolves.

Everyone enjoyed the festival. People danced and sang. There were footraces and people played games for hours.

One game was a way for young people to meet. It began the night before the festival. On the evening of February 14, the girls gathered together. They wrote their names on pieces of paper. The papers were put into a large bowl.

Each boy picked a paper from the bowl. He could not peek at the name on it. The girl whose name he picked would be his partner during the festival. All the couples spent the day together. Some fell in love and later married.

Many people believe that Valentine’s Day started differently. They think it may have started with two priests. Both men were named Valentine.

One story also takes place in ancient Rome in the third century A.D. Claudius II, the emperor, was a cruel ruler. He wanted Christians to give up their religion. He told them to pray to the Roman gods. Those who refused were jailed or even killed.

A priest named Valentine would not obey. He was put in jail. The children missed their priest. They passed notes to Valentine through the jail window and he wrote back to them. Valentine became friendly with the jailer’s daughter. She was a blind girl who brought Valentine his food.

Even in jail, Valentine was not safe from Claudius II. The emperor again ordered Valentine to pray to the Roman gods. The priest refused, and he was killed on February 14.

Valentine wrote one last note to the jailer’s daughter before he died. According to the story, the blind girl was able to read the note. “From Your Valentine.” Some say that is why we send valentine cards today.

But is it? There is also a story about another priest named Valentine. He also stood up to Emperor Claudius II, but for a different reason.

Claudius II had wanted to build a powerful army. He ordered his soldiers not to marry. The emperor did not want the men to think about their families. He wanted them to think only about winning battles.

Claudius II warned priests not to marry people. But Valentine did not listen. He married young couples anyway and was arrested. Claudius II had him killed on February 14.

Some people think both stories are true. But they believe the stories are about the same man. Was there only one Valentine? We may never know.

Perhaps one priest named Valentine did many good things. Maybe he refused to pray to the Roman gods. He also may have helped young lovers to marry. And he could have been a friend to children. Valentine was later made a saint.

The History of Valentines Day: The Birds Choose Their Mates

But wait, the story is not over. There is still another tale about how Valentine’s Day may have started. This one began long ago in England. People there noticed that many birds picked their mates around February 14. They felt that people should do the same. So February 14 became a day for love.

Which Valentine’s Day story is true? In some ways they may all be. Boys picked girls’ names out of a bowl during Lupercalia. Today, schoolchildren do something like that. At parties they often pick valentines out of a box.

A priest named Valentine sent kind notes. Now people send Valentine’s Day cards. Birds are still a part of Valentine’s Day, too. Lovebirds make us think of love. They are often seen on Valentine’s Day cards. Valentine’s Day is probably a mix of many different stories and ideas.

It is fun to think about how Valentine’s Day may have started. It is even more fun to celebrate it.

Valentine’s Day – Wikipedia

The Website Dedicated to Valentine’s Day – (

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